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Mr, and Mrs. James B* 




** A«k Britain who gives her the sjKiar ami the sliield. 
The helmet, the sword — her ilefencf in the fielil ? 
Ask Science (from Science the tribute is due) 
Who gives her the lever, the wedge, and the screw ? 
Ask Ceres (for Ceres the cliiini will allow) 
Who gives her the sickle, the scythe, and the plough ? 
'Tis Birmingham ! " 

—William Hamper. 

Old and New Birmingham: 


The Town and Its People. 



' * So describe, 
That you shall fairly streets and buildings trace, 
And all tl^at gives distinction to the place." 

— CllABBE. 






L 1) 1] 1 K M INGHAM; 



X K w n I R M I N G n A M 


nns niHTouY of 






I DARE not hope that this book will satisfy the requirements of the antiquary, or of 
those learned in the ancient history of our town, as the space at my disposal — in 
order to bring the entire history within the compass of a popular volume — does not 
allow of my entering upon the minuticc of local archaeology. But I have endeavoured 
to omit nothing of interest from the early history of the town I love so well, and have 
striven to present an accumte pictuie of old lUrmingham, as well as of the Birmingham 
of to-day. 

1 have also endeavoured to weave into the story of the town some account 
of those who have helped to rnake her what she has become. The lives of William 
Hutton and John Baskerville, of Matthew Boulton, James Watt, and Joseph l^iiestley, 
are as much a part of the history of the town as the story of the rise of her 

It has been my aim to preserve, as far as it is practicable, the chronological 
secjuence of the events in our local history, endeavouring to keep the various portions 
of the story abreast, so to speak, and to give as completely as possible the jucture 
of each period by itself, — rather than to trace out the entire history of each of the 
various institutions separately. How far I have succeeded it will be for the reader 
to judge. 

I need scarcely say that the work could not possibly have been accomplished 
without the kind assistance of tliose who possess original documents, or rare books 
and prints, who have generously placed these valuable materials at my disposal. The 
cordial manner in which the authors of tlie many valuable works on the history of 
various local institutions, etc., have permitted me to make use of those storehouses 
of local history has also greatly encouraged me, and I here tender to them my 
grateful thanks for the incalculable assistance I have received therefrom. 

My thanks are due to Mr. W. Bates, B.A., Mr. J. T. Bunco, Dr. J. A. Langford, 
and Mr. Sam: TimmuLS, for permission to quote from tlieir various works relating 
to Birmingham, and I have also to acknowledge my indebtedness to the works of 
William Hutton, W. Hawkes Smith, and J. Toulmin Smith, and to the "Hints 
for a History (»f Birmingham," by Mr. James Jalfiay. Many rare and valuable 
books, prints, MSS., pamphlets, and broadsides have been very kindly lent to me 


by Mr. Alderman Avery, Mr. W. Bates, B.A., Mr. W. Franks Beale, Mr. R Birbeck, 
Mr. W. Buncher, Mr. W. Downing, Mr. Joseph Hill, Mr. J. Hitchman, Mr. Joseph 
Lander, Mr. Oliver Pemberton, Mr. Sam : Timmins, and Mr. J. Wilson, and to theM 
my sincerest thanks are due, as also to Mr. J. D. Mullins, and Mr. C. K Souii^ 
for their great kindness in permitting me to make use of the Birmingham books ifi^ 
the libraries under their superintendence. '► 

I should be wanting in gratitude if I did not also acknowledge here tbll^ 

thanks I owe to the publishers, Messrs. Houghton and Hammond, for the manner m . 

which they have entered into the work, and also for the great kindness sad 

consideration which has rendered its publication one of the pleasantest experiences 

of my life. 

R K D. 

AaUnif November Both, 1879. 



Is the far went of Americii there Iiave grown up within the 
memory of thoii^nda now livings great and pojitLlous citioe, 
aboiimlmg in handsome buOdinga, with llioroughfares which 
have olnjady taken rank among the ** streets of the worlds'* 
— cities which twenty veara ago were not thought worthy 
*if the briefest notice in the gazetteer or geogi'nphy, which were 
in fact little better than rude back wood settlement*, eelcctcd 
hy the emigrant settler on account of their nalnral advantage* 
The history of such a city will naturally be brief, and easOy 
traced out Extending over only bsilf a lifetime^ its bejrinnivg.i 
will be within the memory not merely of "the oldest inha- 
hilimt," hut of many who cannot lay claim to Hiat proud 
distinction, Bnt where the growth of a great town has 
been the work of centuries, rather than of decades, where it 
has existed as a small town or village for some hundreds of 
years, — as is the case with many of the large towns and cities 
of England, the tracing out of its early histor}^ is a matter of 
greater difhculty, and is in some cases almost an impossibility. 
The little village or town, having existed for so long a period 
Ik? fore it became of sufficient importance to excite uny interest 
in its history, its origin and early history are not unfreijuently 




shrouded in dense obscurity, which the most 
painstaking research fails to dispel. 

Such, to a considerable extent, is the case with 
the town of which we are about to write; and 
although we shall find liere and there a ray of light 
tlirown on our path by the labours and researches 
of the worthy historians who have preceded us, 
we shall be able to give but a brief outline of 
the early history of that little Warwickshire vil- 
lage which has, by the industry and ingenuity 
of its inhabitants, so outgrown its ancient limits 
as to take high rank among the great cities of 
the empire, and has become famous all over the 
world, as the home of the arts, the birthplace of 
many of the most useful inventions which have 
blessed mankind, and one of the great centi'es of 
intellectual and political liberty. 

" Boston State-House," says the most delightful 
essayist of our time, "is the hub of the solar 
system. . . . Cockneys think London is the 
only place in the world. ... It is quite as 
bad with smaller places. . . . The axis of the 
earth sticks out visibly through the centre of 
each and every town or city." * We fear our love 
and veneration for Birmingham — the old and the 
new alike — ^may lead us into a similar weakness, 
one of which almost every good citizen of Bir- 
mingham is guilty, for one of the most notable 
traits in the character of Birmingham men and 
women is their attachment to, and love of, the town 
of their birth or adoption. We must crave the 
forgiveness, therefore, of outsiders who may read 
these notices of Old and New Birmingham, if in 
our records of its history we may seem to them to 
be guilty of the Bostonian error of supposing our 
town to be the centre of the universe, or of 
ignoring the fact that there are, up and down 
our world, greater cities than that of which 
we write — cities which can boast of an antiquity 
which makes the earliest records of our own 
seem to be but things of yesterday, and which 
may point to a history beside which our own 
annals may appear but as " small beer chronicles " 

OUTir Wcnddl Holmes: AmioenU tifiU BnO^fiui ToMc 

and simple village records. But we are conscious 
of these facts, and it is for this reason that we 
would warn all who seek for chronicles filled with 
the records of brilliant pageants and pompous 
ceremonials, the doings of courts and the for- 
tunes of court favourites, that in turning over 
these pages they will be wofully disappointed. 
Boyal visits to Birmingham have been few and 
far between, and have not always conduced to 
the happiness and comfort of the royal visitors; 
no decrees or edicts, so far as we are aware, have 
ever been "given at our Court at Birmingham,"' 
and no building now standing, or that ever has 
stood, in the great hardwai'e village, has at any 
time been used as a palace of royalty. 

But if the reader be interested in the history of 
industrial progress, in " the story of our lives from 
year to year," in this busy hive of workers, — if he 
has any desire to trace the growth of Birmingham 
from the little village of one street, as Leland saw 
it in the beginning of the sixteenth century, to 
the great midland metropolis of the last quarter 
of the nineteenth century, then we will endeavour 
to fulfil his expectations. 

We shall try to picture the town, both by pen 
and pencil, as it was in its infancy, to look upon 
it in its lusty youth, when the stem suppoiten 
of Cromwell and his Parliament were fighting 
against their king and his courtiers, — ^in its early 
manhood, when Samuel Johnson, then unknown 
to fame and unable to obtain an entrance into 
the inner world of letters, first made his abode 
here, and spent his leisure hours in translating 
Lobo*s Voyage to Abyssinia^ — and to journey 
hither and thither through the old streeis and 
into the old places of resort, now into the church 
and among the tombs, anon into the theatres and 
other places of amusement and recreation, here 
in the tavern club among the old newsmongers, 
politicians, and scribblers, and there amid the din 
of anvils and hammers, watching the stout work- 
men as they help to lay the foundation of Bir- 
mingham's future gzeatneM^ by tibuir canning 
handicraft, which even in Camd#iiU diy was 

The Hanor and its Lonls.] 



heard of as far away as London and even 
Ireland. As we pass out of the eighteenth 
century we shall find ourselves now and then 
among the men who helped to gain for us 
onr political freedom, and to secure for our 
town a voice in the councils of the nation. We 
shall stand once more amid the throng on 
Xewhall Hill, as they solemnly promise to sacri- 
fice themselves, their homes, and their families 
on the altar of freedom; we shall not forget to 
pay a visit to the great Soho factory, where 

Boulton and Watt and their associates are en- 
gaged in the production of that which kings 
strive most to possess — Power; and we shall 
watch the growth of the new Borough, one 
long series of triumphs over injustice and social 
inequality, over vice, and wretchedness, and 
ignorance, until the name of Birmingham has 
become almost synonymous with good govern- 
ment, and the greatest of English statesmen 
point thereto, as an example which other towns 
would do well to imitate. 


Tlie DmnMday Surrey- -Etymology of the Name— Tho Story of the Bermingliams— Api>earanee of the Town in the twelfth centnry - 
81 Martin's Chorch— The Monuments— Appearance of tlie (luiKhed medieval church. 

"Richard holds of William [Fitz-Ausculf] four 
hides in Bermingham, The arable employs six 
ploughs ; one is in the demesne. There are five 
villeins and four bordars, with two ploughs. 
Wood half a mile long and four furlongs broad. 
It was and is worth 203." In this brief passage, 
translated from the great Domesday Book of 
William the Conqueror, we have the first mention 
of the place which in after ages was to bo known 
not merely as * the Toyshop of Euroj)e,' but as 
the great hardware manufactory of the world — 
which should supply many of the most iudis- 
j»en sable articles of daily use, not merely to the 
rities of the Continent, but to the emigrant in the 
bush and the backwoods ; to the half-savage inha- 
bitant of the heart of Africa, and the islander of the 
»S«»uth Seas — a great hive of toilers whose handi- 
work should go forth to the ends of the earth. 

** A hide," says Hutton, " was as much as a 
team could conveniently plough in a year, per- 
hai»s about fifty acres. I think there are not 
now more than two hundred ploughed in the 
parish." Speaking of the " wood half a mile long 
and four furlongs broad," he observes, — " What 
difference subsisted between half a mile and 

four furlongs, in ancient times, is uncertain; 
we know of none now. The mile was reduced 
to its present standard in the reign of Queen 
Elizabeth : neither are there the least traces of 
those woods, for at this day it is difficult to find 
a stick that deserves the name of a tree, in the 
whole manor." Let us hope the next generation 
of Birmingham men and women may find matters 
improved in this particular, and that the youthful 
trees recently planted in various parts of the 
borough may, in years to come, afibrd pleasant 
shade, and help to beautify our streets, and thus 
restore something of the old pleasantly-wooded 
ai)pearance to our town. 

The etymology of the name of the town has at 
all times been a bone of contention among local 
antiquaries, from Ilutton downwards. According 
to Dr. Langford, there are at least one hundred 
and forty different ways of spelling the word. 
William Hutton, misled by the common corrup- 
tion of the name into Brommigeham, or Brum- 
magem, beheved the original to have been 
Bromwi/ch ; " Brom, perhaps, from broom, a 
shrub for the growth of which the soil is 
extremely favourable; Wych, a dwelling, or a 


tTliF lienor rail Ite Uinb 

descent/* Thb, he 8upjx:»se^, may have been iU 
Duly name for many ccnturiea, until, **a .^rics 
oi prosperity attending it, it« lord mij^ht aasimie 
it-s name, reside in it, and the particle ham 
['* Rromwych's home"] would naturally follow. 
Tlua vtMry probably happened under the Saxon 
Heptarchy^ and the name was no othor than 
Bromwtjt'htWh** But the original name was not 
Ih'omwych, nor even Bromwicham, but Ber- 
niiiigeham or Bermingham, as we have aeen from 
the entry in Boraesdny Book. Bu^dale supposeg 
tht* name to have been given to the place by its 
original owner, and this supposition is borne out 
by a modem authority, Mr. E. A. Freeman, the 
able historian of the Norman Conquest. In a 
letter published in the AthencEum^ Sept, 8, 1855, 
he saya, ** The word Birmingham is so thcroughly 
Saxon in its construction that nothing short of 
positive historical evidence would warrant us in 
assi^^ing any otlier than a Saxon origin to 
it. Tlje ftnal syllable, hum^ means a home or 
residence, and Benntngkas would bo a patronymic 
or family name, meaning the Berms (from Berm, 
a mim*8 name, and inf; or iuuff^ the young, 
progeny, race, or tribe). The word dissected in 
this manner, would signify the home or residence 
of the Berms; and there can be Httle question 
that this is its true meaning." It is probable, as 
hi; SHba^tiun Evans suggests, that the corruption 
of the name into " Brummagem ** arose from the 
old local pronwiiciation of the g soft, as in 
''siuge," and fcimilar woriU, 

Hutton labours hard to show that the town 
was of considerable importance even in the 
time of t!ie ancient Britons, and both Hamper 
and Dr. Wlii taker attempted to identify it with 
the Bomaii station Bremenium, but there is much 
of fancy and im-iginatiou and but little of fiict 
in tlie picture of Bij-mingham as a flourishing 
and importajit * ha id ware village ' supplying botli 
Jiritcins and Romans with weapons of warfare 
aud implements of agriculture. Tliat one of the 
great Homan Toads passed near to the place is 
ei'Ttain enough, and a memorial of the fiict stiU 

remains m the name of leknield Street, and soail 
tracea of the road remain in Icknield Port Jxm 
and more perfectly in Sutton Park, But the 
history of our town does not commence nnti 
a much later period than that of tlje Bomn 
occupation of Britain. It was in Edwanl th 
Confessors days, according to Dngciale, th 
freehold of one ITlwine, but after the Norma 
invasion (as we have alniivdy seen from tlrt 
Survey) it wm the property of William Fit: 
Ausculf, who had his home at Dudley Castid 
It was, as wo have also seen, mted for fon 
hides, valued at twenty sliiUings, and hell 
of FitE-Ausculi by **Bichartl" '* Whether lb 
before spocihod Richard,** says Dugdsle, " wn 
paternxd ancestor to those who aftcrwardg 
assumed this place for their simame, I 
positively affirm ; but cortiiin it is, that ti 
Paganclls (who immediately succeeded W. Fife 
Ausculf in the enjoyment of Dudley Castle an 
the substance of all other his lands) passed 
away, with other fair possessions, to he held 
military service: for in 12 Henry IL (1166 
amongst the knights* fees then certified by Crcr 
Paganell, it appotUs that Petor de Berminghad 
held nine of him, de veteii feopjhiertio ; so that ; 
is thereby clear tliat the father of the same Pet« 
whf>se name was WUliain, il n(»t his grajidfatha 
became hrst enfeoft thereof in Heni-y I. time." 
Peter de Bcrmingham was steward to Gcrva 

Tlir fttirirnt »vAt of the LoM BiriuUi^hajLU 
Pr..iTi W. iiiUTj'* Mflp. \7M 

PaganeU, Lord of Dudley, and lunl a castle he? 



[The ICanor and its Lords. 

which according to Dugdalc, ** stood scarce a bow- 
shoot from the church south-westwards." The 
luoat which surrounded this castle is shown in 
Westleys map of the town published in 1731, 
althougli it does not appear in the "Prospect" 
engraved in Dugdale's Warwickshire, in 1656, 
from which our first view of the town is taken. 
The site is still indicated in the names of Moat 
Row and Moat Lane in that locality. 

During the lifetime of Peter de Bermingham, a 
weekly market on the Thursday was established 
in the town by grant of King Henry II,, as also of 
Gervase Paganell. This privilege was confirmed 
to Peter's son and successor, William de Borming- 
liam, whose uncle was supposed to be instrumental, 
under Richard Strongbow, in the reduction of 
Ireland, in the reign of Henry IL, and was 
rewarded with an estate in that country, and the 
title of Earl of Lowth. 

William de Bermingham was succeeded in the 
year 1246 by his son William, who married the 
daughter of the eminent Thomas de Astley. Id 
34 Henry III. (1250) he had a charter for a four- 
days' fair to be held annually here, beginning on 
the eve of Ascension Day (Holy Thursday). In 
the rebellion raised by Simon de Montfort against 
Henry IIL, this William de Bermingham joined 
his father-in-law, Thomas de Astley, and was 
slain in the battle of Evesham, in the year 1265. 
For the part the lord of Birmingham had taken in 
this rebellion, his lands (including the Manor of 
Birmingham, then valued at £40) were confiscated, 
and given to Roger de Cliflford, as a reward for 
his faithful service. ITie lands thus forfeited 
were, however, redeemed by the son of the rebel, 
the third William de Bermingham, who in 11 
Edward I. (1283) obtained a charter of free warren 
throughout all his demesne lands here, as well as 
in his other estates. In the 25th year of the same 
king's reign (1297), he was, according to Dugdale, 
in the service of the king in Gascony, under the 
conduct of the Earl of Lincoln and John de St. 
John of Basing (a great baron), where, intending to 
relieve Bellagaid, then bedeged by the Count of 

Arras, the said earl and baron divided their forces, 
the Lord St. John leading the van through a wood ; 
and, being encountered by the enemy, was over- 
powered with numbers, and so routed, himself, 
with Sir William de Bermingham and eight more 
knights, and many esquires, taken prisoners, and 
carried in triumph to Paris. 

William de Bermingham died, and was succeeded 
by his son, the fourth William, in 1306, who was 
knighted in 1317. 

In a suit betwixt this William de Bermingham 
and certain inhabitants of King's Norton, for the 
recovery of market tolls from the latter, the lord 
of Birmingham alleged in justification of his 
cause, that ^?w arK^eators hcul a market in the town 
he/are the Norman Conquest, " In 1 1 Edward 
IL " [1317], says Dugdale, "this William was a 
knight; after that, finding no more of him by 
that title, I have adventured to conclude the next 
mentioned William to be his son." This fifth 
William de Bermingham raised troops under 
Edward IL, in the year 1324, "four hundred foot 
soldiers within this county, excepting the towns 
of Warwick and Coventre, and [armed] them for 
the defence of the realm ; and likewise the same 
year knights, esquires, and other men at armes 
to attend the king into Gascoin." 

In 1326 (after the deposition of Edward 11.) 
he had the custody of Dudley Castle ; and in the 
following year, the first of Edward IIL, was for 
the first and only time summoned to Parliament 
by the title of Lord William de Bermingham. 

The fifth and last of the Williams was suc- 
ceeded (before or about the year 1340) by Sir 
Fouk de Bermingham, of whom the first mention 
discovered by Dugdale is, that in the above nameil 
year he lent 48 marks to Sir Baldwin Frevill, of 
Tamworth Castle, in return for which he ha<l five 
mills in that ancient borough, in lease for one 
year. In the year 1344 he was retained by 
Thomas, bishop of Durham, to attend the King 
in his French expedition. j^Latterly he was 
returned member for Warwick in several Parlia- 

i»ira<i4 lU Lords ? 


him saoeoeded John <le BcnuiughaiUf who 
En sticcc«on, returned luumber for the coun- 
f Wju^wiek, lictlford^ and Burkingbam. He 
without issue, and his widow, Elizabeth, 
ed the Lord Clinton, and held the lonlghip 
rmiBgham in duwer till htsr dentb, in the 


e niysi now \m&& over a poriod (hirini; which 
Sur oetiito *)l Btrminghiira was held by cora- 
hm slfmngen^ until the year 1500, when 
feB« tho last of thtj Boriniui^hiinis, 8Ucct*eded 
PBidXath6r» at t)u* uge uf thrt^e, (being bom 

[watU Bentnnghaai could not but b? proud 
in noble pi)Ǥscssiona which had thus falk'U to 
after a hym of juauy yeai^ They then in- 
td not merely the manor of Birmingham, but 

KiUm in Oxfordshire, Bucks, nnd 
But ** being conteni|>orary with 
. man, John Dudley, afterwanls 

bit Vhht (more commonly kno^vn by those 
Wf titlo8 which ho sometimes had, iriz,, Earl 
ITaririck and Duke of Northumberland), he 
Kangely wrested out of this lordship ; for 
mm Johj], !i saest himself of Dudlej 

11^ lod obs< I ',,'•' vruingham a fit ornament 
lo iK^ble a seat^ but being the principal real- 
a of such a fainily as Imd for gome hundreds 
mm enjoyed it, not bktdy to be purchtised 
, Iba then rightful owner, conspired by a 
Kalntagcm to work him out of it"* 
^B but a repetition of the old story of Ahab 
^Bgrwdy desire for the viueyartl of Naboth, 
wbtu au unscmpulons Almb finds luniaelf 
»lo to gratify his seUislmess by ordinary means, 
I Dot alow to arail himself of mor^ desperate 
ooUwftil mnuniei. John Dudley, seeing 
Hre waa no hope of his becoming the pur- 
^W Edward Bermingham'a est^ite, ** did sot 
\c of his agents to lodge in Bermingham, 
when Master Bermingham was to 
home; wliich boing accordingly 
ly au contrived their bu^incssy that one 

of thoir plot should ri^lo leisuitdy before, so that 
they might ftijon, keeping but an onlinary pace, 
OTertake hun ; whereupon they watcht an oppor- 
tunity to strike into Master Berminghara*a com- 
pany, as travellers, with whnm they soberly rode 
for a while, but being come up to theii* con- 
federate, forthwith set upon him for his purse, su 
that the vilhdn thus se«»nuugly robMj makes pur- 
suit after them, and likewise after Mastt^r Ber- 
mingham, as one of the pack ; who, being theiv- 
iipon apprehended and ]irL»secuted, apparently saw 
his diinger/** Tbe plot was tbei-efore to make 
Etlwanl Beruiingham a criujinal, the perpetrator 
of a crime which wa« punishable by deaUi. Nt)t 
that it was iutende<l thnt he should suffer tint 
penalty of the law, — that would not have fallen 
in with tlie conspirator's base design, lie, good 
man, anxious to save poor Edward Bermingham s 
life, was to ajipear as the condemned criminal's 
friend, on condition that the fair estate which he 
BO coveted should be given up to him, as the 
reward of his mediatorial efforts on his friend's 

In order to give the better colour to the trans- 
action, the estates were yielded to the King, and 
mtiiiod by special Act of Parliament, which Dug- 
dale gives, as follows ; — 

** Wnxiia Edward Byrmingliim), late of Bynoiaghiim 
in the Coantic of Warwick Rarjuire, otherwijie callid 
Etiward Byriniughara Esquire, ys nnd atauclyth law- 
fully iiidettid to our sovcreing Lord the Kynge iu 
dive me grt-te summea of money ; And also standyth 
at tha mercy of his Htghaeaa, for that the same 
Edward ys at this present convicted of Felony ; our 
aeide fiorereign Lord the Kynge, ys cootentid and 
pleased^ that for and ia rtcompence and satisrACtiou 
to hi» gnce of the seyde Bummea of money, to accept 
and take of the seyde Edwanl, the Mannour and I^ord- 
ahip of Byrmiagham, otherwise callid Bynniacbam, 
with tho appurteaances, lying and hetag in th« 
Countie of Warw ick, and all and aiagular other lauda 
and tenements, reversions, Eeati, Services, ivnd hens- 
ditaments of the same Fdwurd Byrmiagham, act 
lying and beying in the Countie of Warwick alfore* 
seyde. B« yt therefore orde^'&ed and enacted, by the 


[The Manor and iU Lordi. 

Huthorities of this present Parliament, that our saide 
Bovereine Lonl the Kynge, shall have hold and enjoy 
to him his heirs and assigncs, for ever, the seido 
Mannour and Lordship of B3'rmingliam (&c.) In 
which Act there is a Keser\'ation of £40 jier An. to 
the said Edward, and Elizabeth his Wife, during 
their Lives." 

It was not the design of the wily Dudley to 
seize upon the injured man's possessions at once. 
He allowed nine years to elapse before the grant 
was made from the Crown to himself, in the 
thirty-seventh year of the reign of Henry the 
Kighth, December 21, 1545; but the ill-gotten 
possessions were enjoyed only for a brief space, 
for in the first year of tlie reign of Queen Mar}', 
being attainted, he lost his head on the scaffold, 
and all his estates passed to tlie Crown. 

Having thus brouglit to a conclusion our story 
of the lords of the manor, wo will retrace our 
steps a little, and take a peep at Birmingham as 
it appeared during the lordship of the Ikrming- 
ham family. 

" If we survey Linningham in the twelfth 
century," says Hutton, " we shall find her crowded 
with timber, within and without ; her streets 
dirty and narrow, but much trodden. The in- 
habitant became an early encroacher upon her 
narrow streets, and sometimes the lord was the 
greatest. Her houses were mean and low, but 
few reaching higher than one story, perhaps 
none more than two ; composed of wood and 
plaister — she was a stranger to brick. Her public 
buildings consisted solely of one, tlie Church*^ 

Little is known of the early history of the 
mother church of Birmingham. " The materials 
for any history at all," says Mr. Bunce, "are very 
scanty. There is no known record of the foun- 
dation or consecration of the Church in existence, 
nor any trace of such record. In Domesday 
there is no mention of either a Church or priest 
in Birmingham, which quite disposes of Hutton's 
fanciful conjecture that the building dates as far 
back as Saxon times. Until lately, it was believed 
that no fragment even of Norman architecture 

was preserved to justify the supposition that 
a Norman Church once occupied the site ; but in 
the course of demolishing the late buUding, a 
few pieces of stonework, evidently Norman, were 
found built into a wall."* 

There is therefore some ground for presuming 
that a small Church, sufiicient for the accommo- 
dation of the village population, existed in the 
days of the Norman rule. The building whidi 
wjis removed to make way for the present hand- 
some Church, is supposed by Eickman and others 
to have been erected in the latter part of the 
thirteenth century. Tlie earliest mention of a 
Church in Birmingham appears in the Inquisition 
taken on the death of Boger de Somen, in 1290. 
It is also mentioned in the Norwich Taxation, at 
about the same period, and valued at £b per 

Tliere exists no documentary evidence as to the 
founders of the Church, but it was in all proba- 
bility erected by one of the lords of Birmingham, 
whoso residence was " scarce a bowshoot " there- 
from. The principal benefactors to the Church 
were the Clodshales, lords of Saltley, who founded 
chantries, the services in which continued until 
tlic suppression of religious houses and endow- 
ments by Henry the Eighth, at which date they 
were valued at £11 16s. 3d. Trivial as this 
endowment would seem, compared with the im- 
mense revenues Henry seized elsewhere, it was 
not too small to escape, and "the Clodshale 
Chantries went the way of the great foundations 
of Tintem, of Rievaulx, and of Fountains : the 
Mass was unsung, the priests dispossessed, and 
the lands passed to the Crown."t They were 
afterwards disposed of by the Crown, to Torions 
persons, — ^to the Throckmorton family^ William 
Morice, of Chipping Ongar, Essex, John Nethoi^ 
mill, of Coventry, and several others. 

Among other Church property belonging to St 
Martin's, seized by Henry VIIL,was theChontiy 
foimded by the Gild of the Holy Cross, ou 

• J. T. BuiroB : Histonr of Old St Martin'«, 
t (6. f. 4. 



[The Manor and ito Lords 

elation of Birminghain men for various religious, 
charitable, and educational works, of which the 
reader may find further particulars, (as well as of 
* the Gild called Lench*s Trust,' and other similar 
societies), in the late Mr. Toulmin Smith's 
" Memorials of Old Birmingham : Men and 
Names," and in his very valuable "History of 
English Gilds." The endowments belonging to 
this Gild thus seized were returned to the town in 
the reign of Edward VL, for the purpose of 
establishing a Gmmmar School, of which we 
shall have to speak hereafter. 

A few words are necessary respecting the monu- 
ments, of which there now remain four, reposing 
on altar tombs. Our engraving is taken from that 
contained in Dugdale's " Antiquities of Warwick- 
shire," made before the year 1656, and thus repre- 
sents them in an almost perfect condition ; but they 
have since suffered much from rude and careless 
hands, and exist only as ruins of what they once 
were. The first, as will be seen from the en- 
graving, consists of two figures on one tomb. 
The nearest, bearing a shield charged with a bend 
lozenge, is supposed to be the thiixl William de 
Bermingham, who was made a prisoner by the 
French at the siege of Bellagard, in the year 
1297. It is a common error to suppose the ci*oss- 
legged attitude to indicate that the person thus 
represented had visited the Holy Land as a Cru- 
sader. ** It had probably," says Mr. Bloxam, in 
a description of the monuments, "a symbolic 
though now esoteric meaning." 

The further efiigy on the same tomb is as- 
signed by the authority quoted above to the 
middle of the fourteenth centuty, and supposed to 
be the fifth William de Benningham. "These two 
statues cut in freestone," says Dugdale in his 
MS. notes, "doe lye thus upon a raysed tombe, 
scarce two footo high, in the south ile of the 

The second altar tomb represented in our 
engraving, bears the recumbent figure of an 
ecclesiastic, in alabaster, assigned by Bloxam to the 
latter part of the fifteenth century, {temp. Henry 

VII.). Dugdale says, "This monument of ala- 
baster, of one of the Berminghams, a priest, 
standeth close to the wall at the foot of the last" 

The lowest figuie in the engraving represents a 
high tomb of alabaster, bearing the recumbent 
figure of a knight, sculptured in alabaster, and 
clad in plate armour. " This faire monument of 
alabaster," says Dugdale, "standeth in the same 
ile towards the chancel, and was erected (as I 
suppose) for Sir John Benningham, Knt., who 
married Elizabeth, the daughter and heir of 
William de la Plaunche." If the reader desires a 
fuller description of these inten^^ting monuments, 
we would refer him to that which was written 
by Mr. M. H. Bloxham at the time of their 
restoration, in 1846, and published in the Midland 
Counties Herald^ from which it is reprinted in 
Mr. Bunce's " History of Old St. Martin's." 

Of the appearance of the finished Mediaeval 
Churcli, with the various chantries previously 
mentioned, Mr. Bunce says : — 

" It consisted of nave and chancel, both lofty 
and nobly proportioned ; north and south aisles, 
extending almost as fai' eastward as the chancel 
itself, and with the clerestory windows of the 
nave rising well above them ; and a tower and 
spire at the north-west corner, the tower opening 
by a bold and lofty arch into the north aisle, and 
by another arch into the nave. Beneath tlie 
south aisle, at the west end, was a crypt, and 
another crypt, larger and capable of use as a 
priest's chamber, existed beneath the chancel. 
The internal dimensions of the Church were of 
importance. Its length from the west end of the 
nave to the east end of the chancel, was probably 
about 113 feet ; its breadth, from wall to wall of 
the aisles, 65 feet ; its height over 60 feet ; while 
the tower and spire rose above the body of the 
fabric to a height of 200 feet. Besidejs these 
general outlines, some details help us to form 
some idea of the building and its appearance. 
Internally it was probably covered with paintings 
— scenes from the life of St. Martin, the patron, 
and patterns of various deacriptions in colour; 

Til* Umiktft Mul lU hmlLl 



having betsii fouud of both these kinds 
de<!omtion*«. There were three altars— tho 
kigb attar in the chaucel ; on the south side, the 
altar of the Hloss^d Virgin, in Clodsbale's 
elumtiy ; on tlie north side, tlie altar, probably, 
of Sl Katherine, in the chantry of the Guild of 
the Holy Cross. Th€^30 altara would be ' served ' 
by 8dV«ral priests— the Rector of the Churoh and 
at least one assistant, for the high ultur ; two 
priesta for the Clodshale chantries ; and one, if 
not more, for the chantry' of the Guild, The 
weri? no doubt completely laid with en- 

tilegj of which a few specimens were 
fnund in tht* coiu^e of demolition ; the windows 
were filled with f^tained glass, large remains of 
irhlrh ♦•xfsU*»l in Dn"d;i]i\ thin*, rmd soiih' t^vpn 

ill lluttun's ; antl probably in the Clodshale 
chantry, and in the chancel, on either side, were 
the monuments of the lords of Birminghara and 
other benefactors, reposing on altar tombs. When 
these details are combined into a mental picture^ 
and heightened by tliu spectacle of worship, the 
solemn strains of the Mass, the priestn in their 
vestmenU, the lighted caudles on the altnr» thp 
clouds of incense rising in the chancel, the gleauj 
of colour from widl, and window, and roof, and 
tlwr, with iho great picture of the Last Judg- 
ment above the chancel arch, — it will be seen 
that !^^edileval 8t. Martin's was a C.*hurch not 
unworthy of a town destined to bocome one of 
the greatest comnnmities in the kingdom^ and one 
to which Birmingbaiii may look Imrk with pride/' 


Mtte of Derltcnd Chiircli— Api^ofntineiit of a Minister— Apn»eniei»t wlili the Moulis of Tlikfnrif— Jolin Hotj^rs, Tmnflttti>r of ibe 
, Mi*t flmt It^tctUfit Martyr of thi' roign of Qm*«n M«ry— Ai'prMirnnct- of the town iu lb*? fntirt*'«utT> c^ntim'-The ♦'Old 

Ab the fourteenth century drew towards its close, 
and the new doctrines t^f John Wycliffe and his 
foDowers began to be circulate and when those 
Qiatiiiscript copies of Uie scriptures which the 
great reformer caused to be made found their way 
into many of the towns and villages in the 
niirlliinds, the iidiabitantii of the hamlets fyf 
Deritend and Bordesley became "moved !jy the 
spirit that breathed through the teachings of Piers 
Plowman and WycJif, and had grown thoronghly 
ilisaatiftfied with being dependent for their 
nsUgioQa aemcea upon Aston Cliureh and its 
Tiear."^ For these hamlets, although in the lord- 
fhip of Birminghiun, were (and are still) in the 
ptrish of Aston ; and the great distance at which 
they were situated from their parish chnrch 
often pnvvented the inhabitants from joining in 
tba pQbltc worship of God, especially in the 
iriiilar timC| when '* the Hooding of the streams^ 

• TMilmiB antldi ; " OlruilngtiAiu Men nnd HAOia.'* 

and the obstructions often , , . tbrpatening and 
happening in the other ways between the afore- 
said pariah church of Aston, and the far-ofif 
towns or hamlets of Deritend and Bordesley, (as 
a document to which reference will lie more 
particularly made hereafter quaintly sets forth) — 
rendered a journey to church by no means 
uneventful, and gave the villagers many good 
reasons forspending the Sunday at home. This 
was an unsatisfactorj^ state of afl'airs to people 
who evidently did not Ijelieve themselves to be 
** farthest from God when the t^huich they were 
near," (whether they believed or not that the 
•* infants dwelling in the said towns or hamlets 
for want of the rite of baptism might perish 
for ever," as the * Agreement ' urges), and they 
determined to build a church for themselves 
by the side of their owii iiver Rea, where 
they might meet, from week to week, to 
worship God, without fear of accident by 




flood or field, -T-and perhaps in a purer form, 
more in accordance with the teachings of the 
parson of Lutterworth, than that used by Sir 
John Sliobenhale, perpetual vicar of Aston. 
"The new church was begun," says Toulniin 
Smith, "according to trustworthy tradition, in 
the year 1375." It was somewhat smaller than 
the present building, but certainly not so ugly. 
A plain, modest little church, such as may be 
found to-day in hundreds of English villages, 
standing at the end of the hamlet, nearest Bir- 
mingham, almost opposite the " mansion house of 
tymber," close to the banks of the brooklet, forming 
a pretty picture of rustic comfort and simplicity 
such as could not fail to charm the traveller as he 
passed through it on his way to Birmingham, and 
did so delight the old antiquary Leland that he 
declared it to be " a pretty street as ever I entred." 
Having built a church, it was next necessary to 
obtain a minister. The Bectorial appropriators of 
the parish of Aston were the Monks of Tickford 
(or Tykeford), near Newport Pagnell, and an agree- 
ment was made between them and the Vicar of 
Aston on the one hand and the Lord of Bir- 
mingham and thirteen inhabitants of the hamlets 
of Deritend and Bordeslcy* on the other, (with the 
consent of the Bishop of Lichfield and Coventry, 
Sir Robert Stretton — who by some authorities is 
believed to have been a Birmingham man), whereby 
the aforesaid parishioners (for tlie reasons already 
quoted from this * Agreement') "shall have and 
may appoint^ at their own charges, one chaplain fit 
to administer and discharge, before God and the 
parishioners dwelling in the aforesaid towns or 
hamlets of Derit<jnd and Bordesley, divine 
services ; which are always and forever henceforth 
to be celebrated in* a certain Chapel in honour of 
John the Baptist, there lately built within the 
lordship of Deritend aft)res;iid." The ver}- im- 
portant privilege thus accorded to the people of 
Deritend, of appointing their own Cliaplain, has 

* " Geofby Boteler, Robert o* the Grene, John Smyth, William 
Jeffe, Thomu Holdon, Williem Ooaper, WlUiun Dod, Adam Bene, 
Richard Bene, Simon Huwet, Richard of Broke, Robert PlaomTile, 
and Thomu Cbattok.** 

been exercised from that time until the present 
day, and thus rendered them entirely independent 
of the vicar of Aston, both in the choice of a 
pastor after their own hearts, and in the adoption 
of a form of worship more in accordance with the 
doctrines which they appear to have accepted ; and 
in this little church, — and probably from tliis veiy 
clergyman, — John Eogers, the first Protestant 
martyr of the troublous times of Queen Mary, and 
the coadjutor of Miles Coverdalo in the transla- 
tion of tho Bible, received his earliest religious 

Jolin Eogers was bom in the hamlet of Deritend 
somewhere about the year 1500. The honour of 
having given birth to the first martyr of the leign 
of Mary, and the editor of the first printed English 
Bible, was originally claimed for Birmingham by 
Anderson in his Annals of the English Bible, and 
this claim has since been substantiated by our 
own historian, Mr. Toidmin Smith. 

Rogers was educated in the University of Cam- 
bridge, " where," says the ^fartyrologist Fox, " lie 
profitably travailed in good learning, at length was 
chosen and exiled by the merchant adventurers to 
be their chaplain at Antweq) in Brabant, whom 
he served to their good intention many years." 
At Antwerp he became acquainted with William 
Tyndale and Miles Coverdale, who were both at 
that time exiled from their native land by their 
religious con\4ctions. In John Rogers the two 
Reformers recogn'seil one who from his learning 
and ability would be of great assistance to them 
in the work of translating the Bible into the 
English langimge. " In conferring with them the 
Scripture," says Fox, "he came to great know- 
ledge in the gospel of God, insomuch that he cast 
off the heavy yoke of popery, perceiving it to be 
impure and filthy idolatry. . . . He, knowing 
by the Scriptures that unlawful vows may law- 
fully be broken, and that matrimony is both 
honest and honourable among all men, joined 
himself in lawful matrimony, and so went tp 
Wittenberg in Saxony, where he^ with much 
soberness of living, did not only greatly incxease 



I an good and ^odlj Icaroin}/, but also ah miu-Ij 
fiKifit^d in the knoTrledgv? of the Dut^^h tongue, 
ikftl the chaise of a congregation was orderly 
commit tat to hie «!are.*** 

Afti»r the Acec^ion of Edwnrd th«> Hixth in 
1547, Bishop KicUcy inviiod Hoj^ers to return to 
Kli|Haiid, to whioh invitntiou he would seem to 
httVi* itnmrHliatrly responded^ aa appears from b 
prvf»ce to Mdwnctlinn^s worlv nu tiu^ "Weighing 
i>f the Iiil< rim," s^igrnd hx Kogers and dated 

the first Rf'pmon aftRr the Queen's proclamation, 
and although he knew the danger to which his 
opinions exposed him under the new r4rfime^ yet 
h© had the courage to proclaim them openly, 
avovriiig his continuance in the Proteatant faith 
as steadfastly as he had done under royal and 
episcopal favour, and exhopting the people con- 
stantly to remain in thf? same, and to "heware of 
all pestilent popery, iilolatry, and superstition."* 
For this sermon he was iuuriodiatelv summoueil 



[August Itft, 151^. In 1550 he was presented to the 
\ of St. Sei'ulchre's, nnd the rectory of St. 
Hoysey, lioth of which churuhes were 
4«tTOTed in the great fire of 1666. I»i 1551 he 
wa» appointed a Prebendary of St, Paul's by 
Ubtinp Kid ley, and was soon after elected by the 
iNsfin of the College of St. Paulas to llie professor- 
|«lup ol Theology. On the accessiou of Queen 
iMarj hi? waa called to preach at 8t. Paul's Croas 

l*l»e. U76.— at. J- 

Ui appe4ir befure tho Privy Council, and he there 
defended his conduct with ao much ability, that 
he obtaiJied a temponiry dismissal, but was recalled 
ten days later, to answer again for the same ser* 
mon. The result of this examiuatiou was that he 
was commanded to remjiin a pri.^oner in !us own 

He remained in this seclusion for six months, 
**till at length," Fox tells us, *Hhrt)ugh the 
uncharitable procurement of Bonner, hishup of 
•lb. ilLi. 




London, who could not abide such honest neigh- 
bours to dwell by him, ho was removed from his 
own house to the prison called Newgate, where 
he was lodged among thieves and murderers." 
Twelve months passed away before he was re- 
moved from his prison hou»e for examination, and 
during this period he was debarred from all com- 
l)anionahip, even tliat of his books. He was 
refused intercourse with his family, and, as it 
would appear, kept without any knowledge of 
them wliatever. On the ?.2nd of January, 1555, 
he was examined before the Privy Council, and 
once more made a bold stand for the truth, and 
w»ems to have been quite a match for his enemies, 
who again ordered him back into prison, but re- 
oalled him for a final examination on the 28th of 
the same month, pronounced sentence of excom- 
munication, and handed him over to the judgment 
of the s(»cular power. On ^fonday, the fourth 
of February, 1555, he was awakcnl early, and 
warned to prepare himself imniediately for the 
fin\ So soundly did he sleoj) even in tlie hour 
nf imminent peril, that, says Fox, "he scarce, 
witli much shogging," could l>e awaked. Ikying 
told to make haste, he replied, " tlien if it be so, 
1 need not tie my points." He begged to be 
allowed to speak for a few minutes with liis wife 
before his execution, but tliis ref^uest was cruelly 
refused. "So he was brought into Smitlifield 
by Master Chester and Master "Woodrooife, then 
sheriffs of London, there to be burnt; where 
he showed most constant patience, not using 
many words, for he could not be permitted ; but 
only exhorting the people constantly to remain in 
that faith and true doctrine which he before had 
taught, and they had learned, and for the confir- 
mation whereof he was not only cont<jnt patiently 
to suffer and bear all such bitterness and cruelty 
as had been sliowed him, but also most gladly 
to resign up his life, and to give his flesh to the 
consuming fire, for the testimony of the same."* 
Thus bravely perished John Eogers, a man 
whom fiinningham shonld be proud to enrol 

*ib. Ui. 16. 

among her worthiest 8on& Why has he remained 
so long without a memorial in his native town t 
Lot us now once more glance at the growth of 
the town, in the fourteenth century, through the 
eyes of our quaint old historian, Hutton. 

"If," he says, "we behold her in the four- 
teenth century, we shall observe her private 
buildings multiplied more than improved ; her 
narrow streets, by trespass, become narrower ; her 
public buildings increased to four, two in the 
town and two at a distance — ^the Priory, of stone, 
founded by contribution, at the head of which 
stood her lonl ; the Guild, of timber, now the 
[old] Five School ; and Deritend Chapel, of the 
same materials, resembling a Iwim, with some- 
thing like an awkwartl dovecot at the west eml, 
by way of 8teepl(»." 

Mr. J. T. liunce, writing of the same period, 
says, ** In the 14th century Birmingham was but 
a small place, a sort of country and town in 
union. The Church was probably somewlmt 
alxwe the centre of the town, standing on a green 
hill — sandstone rock below — sloping boldly from 
the brow at present occupied by High Street and 
New Street, to the actual site of the Church, and 
thence falling somewhat abmptly down to the 
present site of Smithfield, then occupied by the 
Manor House, or dwelling of the lortis of Bir- 
mingham. Not far from the Church, at the end 
of what is now Edgbaston Street, stood the 
Hfctory house or parsonage, a clear stream running 
by it, forming, low(;r down, the moat of the 
Manor House, and thence passing on to fall into 
the Eea, There was probably a fringe of houses 
along the sides of the Bull liing, in the upper 
part of which stood the Old Cross. Further in 
this <lirection there would be nothing but the 
Guild Hall, on the site of the present Grammar 
School, and the Priory, on the site of the Old 
Sqimre, and including in its lands the streets now 
known as the Upper and Lower Priory. To the 
west, from the line of St Martin's, might be seen 
Edgbaston Church, with the ancient home of the 
Middlemores ; to the north cast, Aston Church ; 

^Ib€ south, St John's Chapel, Dcritetid, 

BBti9l€r of houfies dott^U near it, the chapel 

* buUt because the mhahitanU of this distant 

of Asian coultl not get to their parisli church 

trinU^^, on account of the floods. Pigbeth 

lituted the road between Birmingham und 

lend* «cid Trns proluibly lined with houses 

f 'nlwir framing, filled in with plaster, 

,^ in the gpotiud floor the open shops in 

Biie amiths — then the chief artificers — had 

' hciirtba. It is poasible, though not certain, 

w houses were dotted along Moor Street, 

on th^ siU* of the narrow streets 

off from tlie oppoedte aide of the 

There would be houi^es in Spiccal 

nd p^^rhapu one or two in Ht Martin's 

! ; And the^e would be sill, ISeyond the lines 

e indicated, therw would be notliin^ but 

tt idofie to tlio Uiwn, and open uiienciosed 

try beyund. The roada loading in each di- 

OQ wcrp mere footj»aths most of them — 

pling the main roud through the town from 

p Hill to llocklcy, and thence on to Wolver- 

pitoii^ — and the re^it horse roada, very narrow, 

sunken between high banks/' 

it among iUv. buildings on the banks 

le Kea, in the Doritcnd portion of tiio town, 

the fair '* Mansion House of tvmW," which 

iikft to this day a^ the ** Old Crown House." 

iu>D86, which was built in the ktter part of 

'(>llct4.n»ntU century, still remains, in very fine 

of prraorvatiou, having Won' rt'storod to 

ihtng like its ancient appearance by the late 

% My* J, Toulroin Smith, about fifteen years 

It Wiia built^ likt? most housifs of that period, 

ly tif liniljer, and eonsistctl, on the ground 

^ 4>f a large Central UaLl, with smaller rooms 

well side. On the uppr floor there were 

tmlly four ro<im?, but tlic portion of the 

Mi Chamber'' which projc^cts very jjto- 

ilillf tieyond the rest of the v^all over the 

I'^ntly miuK* into a separate 

a\y ycJU's bt.nje the name of 

|i Galiorye CharahiT;" probably bo called 

from its having in earlier times been separated 
from the remainder of the Great Chamber by a 

In a town like Binningliam, in which so few 
remains of antiquity exist, such a house as the 
*^ Ohl Crown " cannot fail to interest us, by the 
associations which cluster round it For little le-'is 
than five hiunln*<l years, — aa Toulmin Smith re- 
marks, in his interesting history of this huu:?^' — 
no one has gone out of Bii'mingham towariU War* 
wick and Coventry, or come into the town fnnn 
thu Warwick and Coventry Koad, without his cycg 
falling t»n that fair " Mansion House of tymber '' 
now nailed the Old Crown House. Hy far the 
most intei-esting apartment in the building is that 
which is called the Oalloiye Chamber. In it, 
aeeortling to tmdiliun, (^»ueen ELii«ibeth once 
passcil a night, and f*landing in its lattiied, over- 
hanging window, one cannot but recall memories 
of the principal events of onr past history during 
tlie five hunih-ed years through which tlii.s house 
has remained, amid the destruction which has 
left liut little of the old town standiiiLV As we 
look through the eastern lattice, wo think of 
Piince linpevt, and of the gallant strngglo which 
our ancestors mwh to prevent his entering the 
town, — of his manifestation of hi« ** Burning 
Love to En^^laml in Uirniinghanfa names;" — of 
Shakespeare, who may perhaps have journeyed 
past the mansion of timber into Birmingham, 
during those early days of Warwickshire rambling, 
before he sought ft^r tamo and fortune in the 
metropolis; — of old Leland, riding through as 
pretty a street as ever he entered, into Birming- 
ham ; — of the flrw which blazed half a mile 
away from hero on that 14th of July, 1791, 
when th« infuriated ** Church and King " rabble, 
failing in their endeavours to take the life 
of that devoted disciple of philosophy, Joseph 
Priystley, set fire to his dwelling, and destroyed 
his invaluable phili»5?ophienl library, the whole 
road, almost a8 far as the hoti^o in whiJ* wc j^taml 
to take our survey, being filled with the bunit 
pa|)era; — aa we look through the western lattice, 


a£ iho littlft village wc have been eii- 

U> <Jc*icribc — of th& old lords of the 

i>l iLo Si»cot)d William de 1 lermingham, 

m pHKHiMJ out to join his father-in-law in the 

* Tontfort— and of E<]%vnTd 

farth on that ill fated 

imtrtmy which cofit luja hi^ inharitanoe ; — we think 

I of th'^ ** one street '* of Lcknd's time, and as we 

ipAunf! Ill mtr re Verio ottr eye rests upan the 

[••n!^ior«! ** Church of St Martiu, and brings 

our mind tlie contrast botweeu the 

ojii vilLigo mid the great modern city, 

} mm ttt once I'eiiuUed frtun our diiy -dream 

fta uo matt^r^^f-fact of our story. 

Ab an illutfUatlon of llie diversity of callings 

pursued by Birniin;j[ham men, even in the inlnncy 
of the town, the following extract is given by 
Nash in his Oistury of Worcestershire, from the 
Churehwardens' ledger of Halesowen: — "1498, 
paid for rcjMitjUng the orfjan^, to the orgnn-mtticer 
oi Bromwlchamy 10s" Kemarking on this entry, 
Hutton says, " Birmingham thoni wo find, dia- 
covered the iMnwora of goriins in tlio fine arts, as 
well as in iron. By ^the organ-maker,' we 
should suppose them was hut one. It appears 
that the art of acrjuiring riches waa as well under- 
stood by our fathers «s 1>y us ; while an artist 
could ret!eive aB mueli money for tunuig an organ, 
as would purchaao an acre of land, or treat near 
half a gi'oss of Lord Abbots."^ 


n*i ddseHiytJoii of \ht town— Die Spdtiisb AriEM'lA— (^imu Elbubeth At KenLlirartli— SIiiLke$p«&r« m 

now came to the lirst authentic contem* 
vry pteimt) of Binnlngliam, as seen hy a 
id the first liteniry notice of the town 
I- except the brief note in Domesday, 
t^n of King Henry the Eighth, John 
matle hiH famous Itineror}^ of Britain, 
^^^ the year 1*J38 {lOiiyed through Bir- 
' Iju. ad iworda hia impTeasiuna of the place 

dUowb: — 
■*•' -^T ■ h a jtretty street m ever I 

.hitm towne. Thl^ stJ^et, aa 
I Tememhirrr i^ cialled Dirtey. [Deritend.] In it 
gmith* ' and cutlurs, and there is a bi^oke 
, divideth this street from Bermingliam, aud 
Im mn H&mh«U or Member, belouginge to the parish 
[ fliectibytt. 

^*ni«re id at Lho tmd of Dirtey a propper chap- 

,:, ..litl mansion houao of tymber* hard on the 

^t M i^ lifuoko nmnoth downc ; and oa I went 

' V ^r the bridge, the water i*an 

Laud, and a few milea bulow 

iHrnM.** t lUak 

goeth into Tame, ripa dextra. Tldg brookc, above 
Dirtoy, breakoth in two armes, that a little be- 
neath the bridge close agam. This brookc riseth, 
as some say, four or li\'e miles above Bermingham, 
towards Black Hilles. 

"The beauty of Bermiuglmra, a goud markett 
to\v^ne in the cxtreame partd of Warwikeshire, id 
one street going up alongc, almost from the left 
ripe of the brooke, up a meano hill, by the length 
of a quarter of a mile. I saw but one rjirroch 
Churcli in the towne. There be many smiths in 
the towne that nso to make knives and all man> 
nour of cut tinge tooles, and many loriiiei-s that 
make bitte*^, aud a gre^it many naylors. Soe tliat 
a great part of the towne is maintained hy smitlies, 
who have their iron aud sea-cole out of Statf<rr<l- 

Of the " propper chappeU and mansion house 

• AUnilingto ttHfttlior e3t tract from Uko mhio lodger ; ** l*aU J&r 
hrr^vi atut aitt Ut nuUr- my L'utt Atifiot itfini,, in lUtQ^mon wt*l, t\t* 
riutiou n,d4)ii, " Wiitii shniiUl wrc now ililiuk of j^n eccltsiiuitti' 
aee ptltig « l«f«i'«imf thwU tnnu a countrj- dmrtiliwiirrtmi T* 

t Ljclaxi* : «rtcrmd edition « tijr Tbr}ma« Ur^mOt MA., Oxfcil\)| 
17«. l»., 106. 


OLD AND WEW BIliMIKGHAiL fBin»iiinfiwinb>ibei«ti.cennox. 

of tymbor " wo Lavu already spoken* Tlie '* one 
street" consisted, of com-»e, of Digbctli, and tho 
lower part of High Street, with a few narrow off- 
shoots on either hand, and a part of Spiceal Street 
on the westom side of the churcli* Thi^ e^rly 
picture of the busy aspect of the town is inteiei^t- 
ing, not only as showing the antiquity of liir- 
mingham as a manufacturing coninmnity, hut also 
in preserving for vm a record of an ahnost extinct 
local trade — that of general cutlery. Tho **knive8 
and all mannour of euttingc tooles '* made in Bir- 
mingham now-a-daya cut hut a pour figure in our 
local trade returns, and tlie Binniugham urtizun 
would gpum the knife that had not a Shefheld 
brand on it- But the fire-amis that have made 
Birmingham known all over the world do not find 
a mention in Leland*a entry, neither do the but- 
tons, or the countless other useful and indispcns 
able articles^ wliich are now turned out by millions 
from the ** toyshop of the world." 

We have no further notice of Birmingham mxtil 
1586, in which year Ben Jonsons well-beloved 
teacher, Williiim Camden, published his ** Brit- 
annia," He came to Birmingham from Kenil- 
wortb, through Soliludl (which he spells '* Boly- 
bill ")| where he saw nothing remarkable but its 
church, but as he parsed through the same pretty 
street, and past the same line old ** mansion house 
of timber," m his predecessor Leland, and came 
into **Brcmicham," he found it ^^ siranninu tm'th 
IfihnhitanU^ and echmng with the num of anvil/" 
adding, that " herc^ are gieat number.^ of smiths." 
As he entered the town, he noticed that the lower 
part waa *' very watery,** but observes, that ** the 
upper i>art rises i^-ith abundance of handsome 
buildijigs ; and it is none of the least honours of 
the place that from hence the noble and warlike 
family of Bremichams in Ireland had their origiaal 
and name," 

iif ter this there is another blanlc, dining which 
we find no records of tho town or of its people. 
Doubtless, however, the latter went about their 
work as usual, making, perhaps^ more and more 
weapons of warfare, which were not destined to 

remain long unused. In 158S came hIati 
rumours of a threatened Spanish invasion, fa 
lowe<^l quickly by tidings of the oc|uipment of 
Invincible Armada, which waa even then on iti 
way to England, to crush the power of the glorioii 
queen, and once more to replace the yoke of th<j| 
Popedom on the necks of a newly-liberated people 
II10 alarm tijished forth through the length snd^ 
breadth of the land on beacon fires, which 
•* Sprang from hill to hill^ 
Till the proud peak uafurlcd the flag o'er Darwin's rd 

Till like volcanoes flarwl to henven the stormy hills 

Till twelve fair cxmniiea 6aw the bliusc on Malv<^n*s looel 

Till etreamed ia orimson on the wind the Wrekin^i c 

of light*' 

These " answering i)oinls of fire " would doubt 
le.^si rouse the inhabitants of the little hillside 
Warwickshiitj town, and from the crest of lli 
I ** meane hill " whi«h overtopped St, Martin's, the 
bladng bcacnn-lirc would fla^h the news along ta 
the swart toilciis in the "sea-coal mines" of StafJ 
fordshii'e, and while 
" The fislier left hia skiff to rock on Tamar's glitteting 



**The ntgged miners poiirt^d to wur from Mondip's sua-^ 

less caves/* 
the **many smiths/' the **loriners that mak$ 
bittf^/^ and the ** great many naylot^ *' of Bir 
ingham, would not l>o behind their toiling brethr 
in tlie manifestation of their patriotism ; and 
would indeed ill at-fonl with the traditional lov^ 
of liberty wliich has ever characterized Birmin^ 
ham men if, amid tlie ranks at Tilbury whic 
listened to tho inspiriting words of the ^* Viiglii^ 
Queen/' iliem were not some of those stalv 
workmen whoso resounding anvils WiUiam Can 
den had heard a few months earlier, and who 
sons 80 gallantly withstood the Cavaliers at Camj^ 
Hill fifty years later. 

Tho remembranee of this stirring period 
English hiatory make^ us the more regret tha 
there is no direct light thrown by the historiii 
on the doings of our townsmen during thoso ye 



I intl Mm OfmvT* J 



wlitck ftttpoed bciwcc^n Camden's visit in 1586, 
fuid tli« **Baitlo of Birmingham'' in 1G43. For 
dnriDg that pcHod many intereeting events hap- 
pme<L In 1575 Queen Elizabeth was the gnast 
of ill© proud Earl of Leicester at Kenilwortb, 
and the fame of that splendid pageant could not 
fail ta reach the ears of Birmingham men, and 
perhaps some uf them may have even witnessed 
thone " P''"**^*-*y® pleasures" so elaborately de- 
deribed by Gaaeoigne and Lanchanh "The pre- 
pamlions for this celebrated entertniuioent/' says 
Mr. Charles Knight, ** were on so magnificent a 
acde, the pnrveyiugg must have been so enormou^i, 
the podts so luiinterniltting^ that there had needed 
not the dourishings of paragniphs (for the age of 
parngnphs waa not aj yet) to have roused the 
cmioftity of all mid-England."* 

Duriiig the same period the matchless dramas 
qI the barvl of Avon were produced, and oven in 
Birmingham^ albeit there wa^ not at that time a 
single shop in the town at which even a Bible or 
an almanack might be bought, there migbt per- 
bflpa have fotind their way a few of tliose en- 
tc&ncijig little sixpenny quartos of the **Mid- 
•Qfinmcr Nights Dieame," *'Tho Tragicall Historie 
of Ilamlet, Prince of Denmarke/' the "Merrie 
Wititti of Windsor," *•- The Lamentable Tragedie 
of Romeo and IvUet,** or other of those now ex- 

ceieivcly rare little pamphlets of which a few 
may be seen in our Shakespeare Memonal 
Library. Perhaps even the great poet himself 
may have read in (vuniden's '* Britannia " of the 
busy httlo town " swarming with inhabitants and 
echoing with the noise of anvils," and may have 
travelled from Stratford to see the town and to 
note the humours of the hu9>y throng, some of 
whom he may have immortah^ed in those nieiry 
groups of workmen and citizens whicli figure in 
his Eoman and Englii^h llisloiical Plays, The 
prototype of the moriy quibbling cobljler in the 
first scene of JuUm Ctemr may have been foumi, 
perchance, in **tho street caOi'd Diiley," and the 
poet may have met Kit Sly iu the kitchen of the 
** Ohl Leather Bottel *' or other of the qmiint old 
taverns which were dotted along the same " pretty 
street" Perhaps the poet may liave passed 
through the town in see the sites of some of the 
incidents of the historical plays • " through 
Coventry" to Birmingham, and thence "to 
Sutton Coldfield to-night;" to the "plain near 
Tamworth," where Uichmonds army encamped 
before the Battle of Bosworth FieUl ; perhaps to 
Bos worth Field itself. Ho may at least have 
visited 8ome of these places, and would scarcely 
be likely to miss the opportunity of seeing Bir- 
mingham on his way* 


Ibt Holt* ftaidy At Dudikttufi— InTentory of f^mltore^ fte., tt 0udtle«ton Hali—Slt- Tliomos Holt« obtaliii the tttl« of Baro;i«t— 
r^aiTlptinh of Alton Hull— Rdward HotU'v nrnnitge and Its con««qaencef-^Vlsit of CharlM I. to Aston— PeaUi of Edwartl Holte— 
fbtt 8k^ of A»tuit Uall^A (lark dced^Drnth of 8Ir TbomAs Holte— A»toti Choreti. 

I DOMxa the year 1618 Birmingham people, look- 
jrth-eastward, where rose the graceful 
m Church, saw rising among the trees 
[ ol Iba well wooded park the noble outline of that 
jieh the newly^created baronet of Duddes- 
Qfjluu^i\ ^uTlkiymHH Ilulte, waa building 
for UsOlBAlf . 

' f>Tan*** Emoiif t *' WnitA'ii SluJtiperpf « Biography." 

The Holte family had resided in or near Bir- 
mingham since the close of the 13th century, the 
first of whom any mention is found being Sir 
Henry Holte. The name is of Saxon origin, the 
early bearers of it using the prefix "atte." The 
word Holte signifies a grove, or woody place. 
With the earlier members of the family, how- 
ever, we have not here to do ; out8 is not a 

fly Ulatory, ejtccpt in so far as the history of 
& fftmUy iUiutratea Ibat of the to^vn. 

Thti lirj^t moniljer of the Holte family of whom 
ilicf* nsMa any momiraent, lit Aston is William, 
tbe tbifii!eaih from Sir Honry^ llw fir^t known 
beotisr of the name. Ho di^ in 1514, nnd was 
%nmA in tho Goit]i aisle of the ohurch, under an 
nlUr Wskb^ Wring his effigy, life-size, clad m a 
«^ttl of ontl ftfmour. The foiirteonth, Thomas 
ilolte, WW a " hiarned Liwyer," and Justice of 
^orlli Wales in the n?ign of Henry the Eighth, 
Uo htm buried hy the sido of hia father, his tomb 
I^Bg eoTOitod by a monumental bniss, laid in tlie 
fliMir« ecmtiiining |iortnut«t of himself and his wife, 
with tlio fallowing epitaph : 

*^Tboam^ Uolti? hen lyeih io gni?e ; Ihii for thyn 

On him tliod hure compnissjoQ, nml his soolle do save/* 
Tlnf following particulars from an '* Inventory of 
aU the giiodiis and catclls movable and unmovable, 
' (tKalCr j^^» And houshold stulTti of Thomas 
^ Ho!t6» csqnir^ doccsscd " (given in Davidson's 
ftj«Btaitory of the Holtes of Aston," to wliich we 
^^Hin4ehtbd fur mo^t of the particulars relating 
^^Wttic family), will help to give the reader some 
L idoft of the fijjte and appointments of the Manor 
■ Uooao of Duddeston at this peric»d. Of sleeping 
~ apftiitneatft there were thirteen, "the chambiir 

Iovew the battriej the chappell chambur, the 
mafdta/ chambur, the great chambur, the inner 
etunnbur to tlie grt!at chambre, [sicJ] the yate- 
howie rhamhnr, the inner chambut to the same, 
this gofiton chambur, th' crosse chambur, the 
inner chftxnbur, tlie clark'a chambre^ the yeomen's 
rbaiobrev and tbe hyne's chambre," Besitle thcs^e 
lhci« WW ** the hawlt*, tlie piece, the storehouse, 
the galafja, the buttery e, the ketchyn, the larder 
bowac, this deyhowse, the bakhowse, thebultynge 
howfe, and the yeling hawse ;'* also a chapel, of 
whiiib the fumitun; was a^ follows : 

*' Iii|vt9tli m etiuibe, a pis«, and the 
rs ' tliL't^f 

*' \%nn cm»eA tj [iDIm for the 

• •ni. , hj imata, ij jtert 6f ve^l- 
m^ciU, • ■'opcw ij caudjcsticki, • 

Burple^, a masbok, iij altr clothes, 
ij cruets, n pcrc.^ of censes, iij 
toivhcs, iij cf^i-pyt qiiissions, iiy 

carpels, and u eliallcs ,.,».,. ,, viy/i 

" Item in tUo bodtly of the chuppcll n 
frunt for m\ niter, a doth fnr tln! 
flAmc, pentyd table, luid ij l>ollt^ %f. 

Sum ...... IX H iiju. nij«?. 

** The principal bed clmmbers,** says Mr. 
Davidson, " were hung with splendid hangings, 
those of the great chamber being * of gaye colors, 
blewe and redde;* one of the l>eds in the same 
room being * wrought with gildinge and fyne 
bise/ and having 'a tester of sat ten, blewe and 
redde; with cuvcrleyd of sarsnet of the same 
coUor/ In the same room were also *ij long 
sat ten quissions, a tjuission of yellow and blewe 
for the cheyr<3, and a qiiission of tynsnll for the 
cup^jorde/ '* The total value of the furniture in 
this riehly aduriieil room is set down in the in- 
ventory at £13 14s. 4d. The other apartments 
were furnished in the same luxurious style, and 
evidences the posseasioD of considerable wexdth. 
His son and successor, Edward Holte, was born 
iu 15n, and was therefore only about fuur years 
old at his father's death. He married Dorothy, 
daughter of John Ferrers, Esq., of Tarn worth 
Castle, a descendant of the famous Marraion 

— -^^ Lord of FotiUnaye, 
" Of Lntterward ancl Stirivell»ay« 
** Of Tara worth tower ami town." 

Ho died Febmary 3rd, 1592, and his lady 
survived him only a little more than two 
yeai*3, being buried on tbe 20th of De^^ember, 
1594. His eldest ^on, Thomas, who succeeded to 
the estate, was born in 1571, and had therefore 
jviet reached manhood at the time of his father's 
decease* In the year 1599, he serve*! the o(tic:e 
of Sheriif for the county, and in April, 1 603, was 
a member of a dt pu tat ion to welcome King James 
to England, and on the 18th ol the same month 
received the honour of kniglithood. But Sir 
Thomas Hulte had not yet reached the summit 
of his ambition, and an event of grave national 
^ij^. iiij<f, imporiance aHorded the ambitious knight the 
means of gratifying his still unsatLslied desire 
after woridly distinction. The prxjvinee of 



[A«ton 11»11 And lU CNniet! . 

ITkter was in t% state of n-lHlHun, and thorc 
seemed to be no means of redacing it to obe- 
dience, except by increasing tlie ab'eaJy heavy 
bunion of taxation- But tbo gagncity of James L 
was equal to the occasion. He offered a title of 
baronetcy to every genUeinan posseased of an 
annual income of Xl^OOO, whose ancestois, for 
two generations at least, had borne arms, the 
principal co ml it ion being, however, that he 
should maintain, for the defence of Ireland, **aiid 
especially for the srcurity of the Province of 
Ulstei', . . . thirty foot doldicra in the King's 
army, after the rate of 8d. sterling per day,** for 
three years, the whole amounting to £1,095, The 
royal arms of LTleter — the red hand — was also as* 
jiigned to the baronets thus created, from whence 
lias arisen the grue.*iome notion of a " blooiiy hand ** 
in htTiddry, erroneously supposed to denote tlie 
presence uf the stain of murtler on tlie family 
escutcheon. The popular estimate of the cost of a 
baronetcy having been XI, 000 is not, as we have 
seen, so wide of the mark. Twelve montlis after 
the creation of the new order Sir Thomaa Ilolte 
obtained this dignity, and, immediately afterwards, 
commenced the work of enclosing the park at Aston, 
preparatory tn the erection of a new family mansion, 
more in keeping with his increased dignity and 
wealth, luwT^ng received a considemljle accession of 
property by his marriage with (Jmce, daughter of 
William Bradbornej Esq., of Hough, Derbyshire, 
The erection of the nohle hall at Aston was 
commenced in April, 1618, He came to reside 
in liis new mansion in 1C31, althnugh, as the in- 

scription over the entnince seta fortii, it wm no 
completely finished until 1635, Tbo build 
appropriately crowned the principal eminence la 
the park, and was approached from the Lichfii'lj 
Eoad, through a noble avenue of elms and Spiuisb 
chestnuts. Like most buildings of its class whicll 
were erected at that period, it consists of a oentr 
and two wings, a compliment to the Queen aft 
whom tlie style is called, being emblematic of th4 
initial letter of her name. The name of 
architect of this noble mansion is nut known, bii 
it is not inipossiblo that it may have been one < 
the works of Inigo Jonoa. At each sidev 
little in advance of tlie main building^ biH 
connected tlierewith by a wall, am small build 
ings of two stories, intended as lodges ft* 
the falconer or gamekeeper, and gardened 
The two %vings, which may be said to form thd 
t^p and bottom of the letter K, each contain tw 
latge embayed windows to the front, and an 
surmounted by lofty towera with closed ogee roofi 
of a dome-like character. In the centre of 
main building Is a similar, bat more massivei 
tower, siu'mounted by a double ogee roof, 
either side of the tower are two curved gable 
those nearest the tower rising above the comio 
and balustrade which sumiounta the projectin 
portion of the front ; the other two surmount thd 
more embayed portions on either side. The do 
way consists of a semicircular arch, with U 
fluted columns on square bases, 8Upp:»rting 
entablature, above which is an ornamental pane 
containing the following inscription ; 


And BAnoNiiT bkgan ro nviLO rnis Hovwk in Aprill is anso DoMtKl 

1618: IN TUF* 16th YKARK of the ItAtClNE OF KlXO IaMKS of ENttLANtl Ac, 

AND UF Scotland the onis and fiftieth and the ?aid Sr Thomas Holtr 


Charles, and he did finish this Hov.^e in Aj'uill anno Dokxni 1635 : 

In thk elkvekth yearb op the raione of thb said Kino Chablf^. 


Above the inscription is a shield, on which are 
emblazoned quarterly the anns of Holte, Castolls, 
Maidenach with Grimsarwe, and Willington, 

** If the oast front of Aston Hall may be dd 
sijjnated as grand,** says Davidson, ** Uio soulhe 
view may, with equal propriety, be tormo 

The mor6 iirumiDetit leutui'e is tlie 
in the ceiiir<% containing Uie win- 
to the Clmpel, and the lai^e one in 
Gtvat Drawing Jioom, On each aide, on 
gTcmuil floor, Ih a colonnade of fonr «rches, 
hariti^ pkin circttlor pillars, with cApitals and 
hm&k Tbcso piliars support iemicircnlar arches 
with ilripstoni'^ and otiiamented on the faco^ and 
rrrml^ with »uuk panels. Adjuiniug tho Grvat 
Dniwing Hoom, iind over the cast colonrade, are 
Iw-' King a }UA lioom and Dre^^in^ Kuam, tlie 
tttter having b«543n piirtitioncd ofV fi-om another 
the remaining poilion als^i serving as a 
fling mom to the first floor room as seen from 
Iront* llic^e two dressing rooms, and 
of tbtj toluiiniide over wliich they are 
I, did not form a portion of the original 
IiniMmg, gm ' ' a of an oriid window may 
W so(% part 1 lien hy the roof of the colon- 

iiade ; and the places where the junctions have 
h€«i offecti*d are distinctly visible on the exterior 
^oftbe building.** 

H Ovia* the wcstem colomiade, and adjoiuing the 
HCftai Drawing Room, is Lady Hoi tea Drawing 
rRooiai the wall of whieh stil] be^im tnues of the 
csanonading in 1643, the lie^icgere' battery having 
been er»ct«d, as is supposeil, on a amall tsminenc^ 
■Iioat 240 yards from the Hall, exactly opposite 
tliij fuoxQ* Many of the balls passed cntixoly 
tbroitgh tliLi room to the Great St^iirease j one of 
lUrttt ©hiittoriiig a massive oak standard] and ItHlg- 
ing in the adjoining wall, as shown in our engrav- 
ing of tlMt st*iirr4iJ!*o, Further west ward over the 
tftinp iTolonnade is the vestibule to the Long 

Do tli»e western front are five rooms on the 
l^iovmd floor, and the whole of the lower portion 
nl thi« wall was formerly mantlevl with iv}% 
AboTe tbi£e five rooms is the Long Gtdlery, with- 
out whkb ti*j Klixaliethim mansion of an important 
cb a fncUf r was considered complete* The northern 
Old of tlie building contains, on the gi^tund floor, 
iht Serraatt' Ihdl, Kitchen, ajxd Uonsckeeper's 
BoonBi and on tlie fimt floor the Blue lioom, 

Chinese Koom, and Lady Holte*s Bed Room and 
ISondoir. Tlio centre of this side projects slightly 
beyond the Long Gallery. This is tlje leaat in- 
teresting side of the Hall, and has been disfigured 
by tlic alteration and modernization of many of the 
wnndows. Beyond this, on the northern side of 
the Hall, are tlie stables and outrofBcea. 

In the above description of the external 
aiHRnirance of the building we have sufliciently 
indicated the jmsition of most of the rooms ; 
it will not therefore be necessar}' to make further 
reference to the less important of them. The 
principal apartments requiring special notice are 
the Great Hall, the Chapel, the Great Drawing 
Rof»m, the Long Gallery, and King Charles's Bed 
Room. The Great Hall is 47 iwi Vjitg by 24 
feet wide, and has four lafge windows, two on 
each side of the entrance, deeply ^ci in the walls. 
The ceiling is richly decorated with bonses, gm- 
tesque heads, flowers, etc, ; and a broad c<:*mice, 
interspersed with various animals (including the 
elephant, lion, unicorn, gritHn, stag, etc.) is carried 
roimd the room. The lower portions of the walls 
are wainscotted, with the exception of four com- 
partments (on each side of I he door leading to the 
8alnon, oppi>sitci the enti-ance, and in the north- 
west and south-west comers)^ flankeil by pilasters, 
each containing a |>iituR%— those on each side 
of the ISiduon being Ltndscapes, and those in the 
two corners full-length JiguiH^s of Roman Empewrs. 
On the norlli side of the apartment is the fireplace ; 
the back of the grate bears the Royal *\rnjs and 
the initials C.Ii» and the conij^artnKnjt^ on each 
side the Holte Crest, with the initials IL jmd W. 
Over the chimney-piece are the following verges : 

Tf »?,rvic'1! re thy meake to thrive, 


Context to take some patne; 
If Love or veiitve may ali.vre. 

Or HoI'K of WOKtOLY OAlNJt, 

If feauk or Oon may thej? rBOiTVBK, 

To SKIiVE DOE iior m**X}MSK 

From the son th- west corner of the HaU we 
enter the vestibule leading to tlie Great Staiitrase -, 



tAKun UaU tml Ua 0««m 

Imt heforo ascon«Uu^ to tlio iii>per ai>artiiicnt«i wc 
piU58 through the Cliapcl Pi^asage and enter the 
Gallery of tlio (JlmpiiL This galkry was the saat 
appropriJitctl t(> the family, and is raised a few 
feet above tho levni of the chap<?L It is very 
coin mod iouft, cxtendin*^ along the wholw of the 
north side ; the froi\t was covi^nid with vclviit, 

and all tlio cushions were of TV • :yjk» 

containe4 thei^in were Wd' , and 

seventeen Prayer Books : two folio editifOdlB piib^ 
lished by Baskott» covered with velvet; mi6 kry 
BUI. in blue Tuikey ; one Inrgo qniirto, by B«- 
kt'tt, alao in blue Turkey ; twelve in adf, fxuirktfd 
with tho nnmo of .^ir Lister Holte; and an ocJt^vo 




printLid by liaskenille. The cLaptl wdn lighted 
by two windows in tho south wall, bgth of which 
Were afterwards stopped up, but have of late 
be^n reopened ; but of tho alteratioa'5 we shall 
have to spe^k hort*aftcr, in our notice of the 
preijuut cun<Utiun of the buildiBg, The walla are 
wainscottod ; tho lloor of tho building contained 
largo seats on tlio e^isitim and western aides for the 
ilomestics, the centre being unappropriated* The 
uommunion table (of oak) was placed between 

the two windows, and waa t^vcred with a velvul 

Eetuming from tlie Chapel wc oacend the Grt4it 
S tail-case, which is very similar in design to tho 
famous one at Crewe. It is divided into numerous 
landings, and to each Eight is aii ornamtiiilal 
compartment divided by s«i\iare liigh standards, 
ricldy carved^ and surmount-ed with vaao-liko 
tcrmmatione, boldly carveil, and capped with an 
Ionic volute. The fourth landing (by whiuli we 



(AKtoii Eiilt aud lU Owtm% 

arriTe at llie ilr^t fli or) lnur?* tintort t»f ihr ntt;u'k 
ID 1643, tu wbidi wo shall reftfr mor« [mriicularly 
hurciifter. Tfie 8t4iircase coniuiues upvranl to the 
top of the house, where u door leads out to the 
leads over the Long Gallery. Another door laads 
lu ^ gloomy corridor iu the roof, called ** Dink's 
Gtirret/' from a domestic of that name who is sutid 
to have hung himself there from one of the low 
rafters of the roof. 

Bat we cannot stay to explore theae lonalj 
regions ftirthei, mid so return t<j the first liuidiiig, 
and enter the Great Drawing Koom, which ia over 
the ChapeL *'Thifl fiplendid apartment, which ia 
39 feet hy 23 feet^ is lighted from the south hy 
twii noble muUioned windows^ of thrr-e divisions 
ami nine lights eaidi, iond from the j»ortion of the 
wall in which they are placed projecting a little 
beyond the main line of the building, advantage 
has been taken to introduce a small window of 
two divisions and six lights on each side, thus 
adding materially to the effect A large north 
window looking into the quadrangle has long 
been Btop])ed up. The walla are panelled to 
within about a yard of the cornice, which is bold, 
but plain. The most peculiar feature of the 
decoration of the room, however, is an orna- 
mented atone frieze placed between the cornioe 
and panelling. It contains, under shallow semi- 
circular-headed openings, placed at alternate dis- 
tances round the room, bold figures in military 
costumes of diffenmt times and nations, ranging 
from the polished Iloman to the rude High- 
lander ; and from the mail-cLid media? val warrior 
to the courtly knight of the Elizabethan era. 
Four of these figures arc displayed on the west, 
three on the south, three on the east, and one 
on the north, waUs, The portions of the frieze 
between the figtirejs are coveretl with decorations 
ill low I'clief, similtir to those in the ceiling, 
Thei'e is a general resemblance between this room 
and the large one at Crewe, though the details 
and the figures in the latter are much bolder. 
The ceiling is oniamented with one of those 
indescribable pattej-na peculiar to Uie period. It 

roiisists «if thr^e large centre oval < 
lianked by the sfime nxanber, of a ^i 
tion, on each side, evtry oval cotitaining a smalloi 
one umamented with ap{»K>priftt«* Elizabothaj 
scroll work, the centimes containing a cherub*! 
head ; and each of the circles formed at 
junctions of the principal orah ia filled with 
grotesque heurL llie chii. ' *? 

worthy of notice. It neai 
nice, and ia divided into two iiarts by bcdd 
taUaturtfs, each being supporteil by gnwhiat^ 
pilasters ; the upper one<j, moreover, rust on 
supported by grotesque head^, Tlie centre of 
upper pai't is left perfectly plain. On the upp 
entablature are placed scrcdl omamentA, cnrieh« 
with sbelLs ; at equid distances on the scndl 
Ijoing platted shields — Holte ; Holtit quarterin 
Castells, Maidenach with Grimsnrwc^ and Wtl-" 
lington; and Holte impaling Braiiboume. 
door in the east wall, close to the fire-pla 
opens into King Charles's Bod Koom, and one i 
the opi>o8ite side leads through Lady Holtei 
Drawing Koom to the Long Gallcr>% . . . Thi| 
Gallery — perhaps, with the exception of those 
Hardwicke and Hatfield, the finest in England- 
is 136 feet iu length, by 18 feet in width, and II 
foet high. It is lighted hy five largo muUione 
windows, of four lights and twelve divisions ea 
the centre i^-indow slightly projecting. At tfa 
north end is a large oriel, in one of the comj 
ments of wliich is a small shield^ in stained gla 
charged with the Family anas iinijaling Newto 
and similar to the one in the east window of 
north aisle of the ChurclL The walls are cuve 
with oak panelling, divided, by pilasters hnvt 
capitals, into thirteen comjMirtments. Tliese pil 
tew are divided into three atages^tlie lower, < 
base, being boldly moulded and ornamented, 
second lias numeix)us projecting bevelled Uoi:! 
placed periiendicularly and horizontally, and ail 
rounding a boldly carved acom ; while the thin 
or upper, is fluted in minute divisions, and fiiiii 
with a capittd. The rows of pimejs are eight 
numbef, each containing a semicircular arch i 

ht/km lyil Mot ilA Dini»i«. ] 




by pilastLTrs nil in low rv'Jief, mmilar to 
often goon in (nilpits af the Jacobean era. 
A ihailDvr convicc, or frieze, covaretl with onia- 
Hiffita, ftbo in low ruliof, ix corneil roim<l the 
Tocm. Th' ' '. decarati^l with two mws of 
tftnameDtB, ; l squafvd, having st^m [circular 

innjedkunja;, tho ccntita being tiiccupied with grace- 
ftd (]cvic«3f of which the principal feature is the 
camucopia. Tlio chimney-piece ia of marble, and 
bj £f&r the most important in the hoiiae, and h in 
the rentre of the east wall lU principal features 
in* hrcmil entablaturai ami conuccs^ supported by 
grytnatfue Cor)'ati«k% and divided into two prin- 
ciple poftionA, thi« upper one, again, being also 
«lividipd into tw< > i uient*, containing oblong 

panels of grey u- i rounded by gcroU-work. 

Tho lowrr poriiofi is supported by graduated 
*culptnretl head^, in a fine style of 
shields, cliarged similarly to those in 
Uiis Gfuit Drawing Room, are placed on the upper 
pofi of tho chimney piece. Tlie fireplace has 
hr * ' ^ irting logs of wood,"* 

i f rooms (including out-h0U8^, 

cle^ and thts Chapel, ) is 1 OS. ' * It was ft viden tly the 
architect's intention/' observes Mr, Davidson, **to 
bring prominently forward in the internal construe- 
Uim, the Entrance Hall^ the Groat Drawing Roon\ 
the I*ong Gallery^ and the Staircases, as, after these, 
cvt-nr other portion is conipiu-ntively small, and 
pUin in the dcconvtion ; and the traflitionary cvm- 
Unti of having the chief rooms on the upper floor 
bo* been obs^^rved," 

Wc ROW retiim t«» the story of tho noble owner 
of A^Um Hail. He had a family of fifteen child- 
nai, tbtt iiide«t of wbora, Robert, died young. The 
story of the second, Edward, who wtis bom in 
IISOO, is fyll of iiadneas^ yet of sweetneas also. 
He maffiiHi one of the danghters of Dr» John 
King, Bishop of London,^Kujg JamivVB ** King 
of Pf^ncbers " — anil thervby so provoked the ire 
of Umb ItAoghty Baronot that he threatened to <lis- 
inberit U' prevented from this act 

ofrriKl .__^--Lliun of King Charles, who 

' V }F . >TirM>9 : Ili«t«i7 <)f tho Holkt of Aflioii, pp. 634. 

cithpr at tbia timn, or i\ little Iat<3r, appointed tho 
offending heir of Ajston his Groom of tbo Bed- 
chamber. Tlie royal letter to Sir Thomas is given 
by Daviilsoni from the original, which was then 
in the posses;sion of the late C. Holte Bracobridge, 
Eft]. It nina aa follows : 
** Charles R, 

** Trusty and well beloved, Weo greet you 
wqU. Wee have taken knowledge of & niamago between 
your aonnc and « dftughter of the late Bishop of I^ndon, 
and of your dUHke ihcruof^ soe far expressed as to Ihri'Aten 
a disiuhcritanco of your sonne : of whotii wt^e bnve idso 
heard very w«ll, uh having many good paitsthat make him 
abla to dcM) us scr\*ieef and fitt rathat to bee eheristted of 
all good encoiinigeTntnts, thnn oppressed with a lii-Mvy hand. 
Whereas Is no greater caiwe of otTence again §t him^ and th« 
interest wee havr in all our subjects^ and cBperially hi 
families of the be-st tiualitit\ giv^jth Va cause to inter[K>Ac 
in tliifl, where a severe pri^w^fding againat your sou ne woiUd 
endanger the overthrow of your house, wh<;rtJof there 
are so many examples, and leave that tytle of honour whieh 
mujft dea*!end upon him by our late father's»» 
contemptable, when it should fall upon one, deprived by 
your act of the state and means to snpi>ort it. For the 
mati h^ We consider and may v;ell hope that a blessinge and 
many comfort** will follow the dau^^htor of a aoe revoifud 
and good a ninn, whone other children are in soe ho|>eful 
wayes and soe wtU disposed ; and an alliance with them 
cannot be a disparagemcnto.^nml what iriequalilie yon 
may thinke of bctweeue your sonne and her, for estate or 
otherwise. Wee will be reatly to supjdy our grace and aaai^t- 
ancis in giving him advancement and impartinge our 
favour to him in such wayea aa his good parta are capable 
of. Wee doe therefore reoouini»ude it to you that you doe 
not only forbearc any act against your sonne in respect of 
his match, but thnt you restore hini into your former 
favour and good opinion, wben-in Wee doubt not that our 
uiediatiou njion groundii of muf'h reason and indiUVrenee 
will soe far prevail with you, that Wee shall hnvc en use to 
accept graciously your iuiH\vi»r» which Weeexiwct you return 
unto Ua with all convcmency, Given ut our Courte at 
Hampton, the 7th dny of August, in the third yeare of 
our reigne." 

liut even the royal intercession was of no avail 
in rei^torinij: liiin to favour* The proud, unyielding 
baronet still refused to forgive his exiled son* 

In October, 1 642, that son, probaVdy for the first 
time since Ida marriage, spent two nights under his 
fatber^a roof, fur, on the evciungs of Sunilay and 
Monday, the ICth and 17th of that month, King 
Charba, whose army was marehing from Shrews- 
bury towartls Banbury, (to relieve Banbury- Castle,) 
staid at Afeton Hall, as the gueet of Sir Thomas 
Holte. The rcu^m in which he sleirt during that 

from the highest turret, od if iti defiance of 
^yeiSL We hear the cla^sh of arms, the 
pmi flottrish of martial miwic, the joyous ring- 
^ of tile old church belLs, the glad ocelaim of 
Ipyml aasembloge, who niise the shout which 
ni greeteti the ear of the Jewish king ; and %ve 
on the sombre, pensive counteiumce of him, 
li whom honour all thw demouRtratioTi \» made, 

eighteen yearft, he has viewed >vith unmitigated 
hatred. And, as no ray of compassion beams 
from the eye of the old man, we can well imagine 
that utter sinking of spirit which came over * the 
noblest, the be^t, and the bravest,' of all who 
ever bore the name of Holte. Go, old man ! hug 
thy patents and commisaions — produce thy par- 
don from thy sovereign, duly signed, sealed, and 

' .9^ 


•* i»^ courleoii-sly arknowleilged the defert^utial 
'*M«aijKrt of the a>«€inbled tlirung. In that 
<*tinu» of attendants on tlm monarch, we likewise 
Wk*Jd one, who, with sorrowful face antl averted 
•f^ CtttA Around I dm furtive glances as the 
*^4lMe pcoo$edii» and ia auxiously longing 
^ •» if the man who h »o prodigal of 
"^ tSectioiii) towarda hi« sovereign has any 
Wii^ of ruganl tuwanls a son, whom, for 

(lelivered, anil defy tlie world to cliatge thee with 
fiime — rejoice in thy noble miuiiiion ond thy 
broad* domains — but remember 1 there is a canker 
at tlit^ i-cjot of all thy greatness, so long ub I hut 
gallant son of thine — in so few days to shed his 
blood in thy royal master's cause— remains un- 
forgiven for the magnanimous mmt of having 
made her whom he so truly loved his wife.'* 
Edwanl Holte was wounded at tlie battle of 


[Astcm 0*11 AMd Its ( 

Edge Hill — oi»]y scvyn iluys after that Simday cm 
which he had first looked upon hia lathers house 
lifter nearly twenty years* exile. He recovered, 
however, and still romamod faithful to his royal 
master; but died on the 26th of August in the 
next year, 1643, from a fever contracted while ha 
was oDgagcd in the d'^fence of Oxford, Ho was 
hurled in the cathedral of that city, close by the 
luonunii'ut of an earlier Bishop King (of Oxford), 
grand-uncle of hia vnh^s father. 

Eeturniug to Aston, wo find the residenta at 
the hall in some alarm at the state of afluirs in 
liirniingham, to which we shall more particularly 
refer in the next chapter. Fearing that the people 
who had been so cruelly treated by Prince Eui>ert 
and the Cavaliers might poj^sibly be led to avenge 
themselves upon one who was now bo well known 
as a frieud of the King, and a trusty supporter of 
his cjuise in the war against the Parliament—for he 
assisted the royal cause with his pui'se, although too 
fir advanced in years to render any assistance in 
actual warfare— Sir Thomas applied to Colonel 
Leveson, Goveruor of iHidley Castle, for a guard 
of Boldiers ui order to protect the hall from the 
possible attacks of his Pirtningham noighl^ours j 
and on the 18th of iJecendier, forly miisketec^rs 
were lodged in his hotiKe. Did the uld man ever 
think, diiriug those days and nights of peril, 
of that brave s^n whose death his anger had iu 
all probiibility accelerated, and who olherwiae 
might have n*ndered valuable assistance in de- 
fend iug bis lielovcd home, hud lie been peruutted 
to dwell under its roof? Pid ho tluuk of the 
valorous services of hia son Edward at Edge 
Hill, whore 

** in hi« Koyal Master's caose aud war, 
*^ Mu venture J life lu'oiight off a noble akariie ; 
** Nor did bja faithful servicer dcsi^it, 
** Till Deutli unliintly struck him from the Uat."* 

lliere came a time, tluring those dark Decem- 
ber days, when the presence of sueh a son would 
have been an aim of strength for the old man to 

""An Elegy on Um Bo&ih &f Mr. Edwtknl Uolta,'" bjr )ils li>ratber> 
Iti-lAW, Dr. Kiit^t Bishop of Chlcli»tor; i\ B&\iJmh*a iuutioii of hi* 
Poutu* |>. 104. 

lean Ujxjn, for on the 26th of the moiiih. 
bably in the midst of the d^tcly fttstivitifv 
Chrlstmaa, the Parliamentary forces (1,200 
niunber) commenced their attack upon the 
It is the opinion of ^Ir. Davidson that the ar 
thus hrouglit against the Hall could not have e«jfi 
sisted of rc»gidar troops, as in tluit case the \ 
number of the beseiged — forty foot soldiers and th 
housuhold of Sir Thomaa — could not have defende 
the place for any length of time. It ia prolmbh 
that they consisted of an undisciplined concoa 
of townsmen^ wdio had not foi'gotten the eniellia 
perpetmted on the preceding Easter ^tondiy an 
Tuesday, anil had determined, with the 
of a few gunners and othf^r rogtilar soldietft, 
revenge themselves upon the loyal old baronet 
A»ton. The aiego c^intinued thi^ days, and 
the entl of that time the defenders surnrndcn 
their forces, having lost twelve of their owti meij 
and indicted a loss of sixty on the enemy, 
marks of the cannonading are still visible on 
outer wall, while within, the bantlsome stiiir 
bears evidence, in a shattered pillar and oth« 
considerable damage, to the nkill of the gnnne 
in their dangerous craft. 

The Hall w^as plundered by the besie^rs, ma 
of the family papers were destroyed, and 8i 
Thomas was imprisoned. His household go 
were twice confiscated, and other sums wt 
forced fr<:»m liiui; alt«jgethor, the damage he »it| 
tained through hia loyalty to his Sovei-eign wi 
estimated by Collins at about -e20,000. 

Wo have thus far seen that, excepting Sl 
Thomas Holte's loyalty to hia Sovereign, the 
Avas but little in liis chamcter worthy of admir 
tion, Mr. Davidson's estimate is that, as fur i 
the baronet^s actions serve as a test, ** he apjw 
to have been proud, obstinato, and revcngefii] 
Of his pride, the costly mansion he ha;s l«i 
behind him, and the purchase of the title 
Baronet at a cost of over a thousand pound 
are sufficient e^^dences. Of his obstinacy 
neeil look no fui'ther for an example than 
incident we have just described, in which he 

kattm lUU UkA !!• OmiiBL] 



li»|)dct«lir dtfi'udod hU uiaiiniori at the caai of 
|] lives, wiien (lie uveqiowcring miroLer 
the betiogors shoiUd have bHowh \i\m at once 
plfee falility of ttueh a proceeding. And in tbe 
■ «a4 s4t>ry of poor Edward Uolte, exiled from 
_ bk 1»oino and left in penury, depentknt upun 
Btlie duinty cif a brother-in-law, for tbe Btmpio 
^KoBcaciB of loinng a tme and noble woman, and 
^BauikiQg ber his wife, we have surely euch an 
Htt»la&ce of mingled pridtj and revenge as hoij 

■ ftddom Ktin equalled. 

But of hh cruel vengeance, if a tradition for 
which llicitj is nmch corroborative evidence is to 
\ht ttdlieTed, there is an even wor^ic cxaniplii on 
fiQOCMtl. The moat probable vemon of the story 
ihiit be was ou one oceasion returning from 
I litmling, iin<V i^ tlie comse of conversation, laid 
8 to tbe punctuality of his cook, who 
fatal occasion was, for once, behind time, 
\Tlm berontst, enrngeil at tlic jeers of his com- 
[i^ions, is said to have rushed into the kitchen, 
I and seizing a cleaver which lay at hand, clove 
^ l2>e poar cook's heatl in twain. This tradition 
hoA been associated by the ignorant with the so 
«lU«d " bloody-band " in the arma of the family, 

■ hnX we have already pointed out the ciToneoua 
H oatiifis of the supposition that the Ulster badge 
^■ipioting baronetcy has auythirg to do with 
Bmoiier. But there is suiticient evidence to 

prtiTi tlmt this terrible story has not been in- 
TeDtod to €2£j>Iain the presence of the supposed 

' «taUi oi murder in tbe coat of arms, for in 160G 
Hiw Tlii^mas Holte, by bis attorney, preferred a 

[ tiiU i^gatoflt one William Asoricki for having 
'dpt^n^ publicly, maliciously, and in the hearing 

I of diTcra perstin^,'* uttere*! "with a loud voice, 
ihmti (mlm, Bctitious, scandalous, and opprobrious 
wotdfri , respecting the said Sir Thomas, 

tit: •: .. ... i^,is Holte tooke a cleever, and 
liyil byi eooke with the same clecvcr uppon the 
li«^<^ aad clave his hoade, that one syde thereof 
kr one of his shuulders, and the other 

•jf'i 'J other shoulder; and this I will 

I ^myf^ to be trewt^/ *' llie damages were laid at 

£1000, Tlie dufendiifit, by a «|ni]iblp, pleaded 
not guilty ; but a verdict was returned for Sir 
Thomas, with damtiges to tlie amount of £30, 
with one shilling costs. But when we take into 
consideration the fact that Sir Thomas, in 1625 6 
obtained, from Charles I. a royal parJon, "so 
ample," says Mr, Davidson, *Uhat every crime 
of thought, word, or deed, prior to the 27tb of 
March then last past (the flay of tlie death of 
King James), is entirely remitted," and that nut 
mcitjly every crime, but Q\(^Ty mHjncum of crime 
is included therein, wo cannot but come to the 
same conclusion as the historian of tlie Holtes, 
*' that a very strong degree of probability rests in 
favour of the opinion that the poor cook's bead 
was cloven in twain, as ch urged in the libel." 

Sir Thonms out-lived all his children ex«;e^>t 
one, his eldest daughtiT Graee^ who mamed Sir 
L'iclmrtl Shuck burgh. He died at the ago of 83 
(December, 1654), and was buried with his 
anccstois in Aston Church, where a handsome 
monument sets forth, in Latin, his many virtues, 
and oven claims some reflected honour towards 
himself from the position of his di.'=owncd son 
Edward tis chambt rlain to Charles the First ! 
Hutton says, in his quaintly cynical manner, of 
the founders of tbo Gild8, "When a man of 
fortune had nearly done with time, he began to 
peep into eternity through the windows of an 
abbey ; or if a villian had committed a piece of 
l>utchery, or had cheated the world for sixty 
years, there was no doubt hut ho could buiTOW 
his way to gloiy through the foundations of an 
abbey/' Perhaps Sir Thomas Holte may hano 
had some qualms of conseience on the score of 
his cruelty Ui his son and his servant, and may 
have thought tliat a littl<? posthumous kindness 
to the poor and iiiiirm at his gates miglit per 
chance equalise the balance a little. Ho therefore 
provided in bis will for the erection of an 
Almshouse (which virtuous act is duly set forth 
on the before-mentioned Uiblot), which still re- 
mains, an asylum for the poor, in which they 
may spend the end of tlieir days in peaoe^ while 



[The Buttle of 

the family out of whose bounty it was erected is 
known in Aston no more. 

Sir Thomas was suc^jceded by hia grandson 
Eobcrt, the elder son of the unfortunate Edward, 
but the story of his life, and of his succeasorp, 
need not be told in these pages. We shall have 
something to say of the decadence of this noble 
family at a later i>eriod of our story. 

Opposite the principal entrance gates to Aston 
Park is the fine old church, which was originally 
built by the prior and monks of Tickfonl, New- 

port Pagnel, in the year 1253. The east end of 
the chancel was added in the leign of Edward U., 
and the fine tower, with its tall and graceful 
spire, was erected in the reign of Henry VL 
Beside the Holte monuments there are several 
altar tombs, the finest being that erected to the 
memory of Walter de Arden, A.I). 1407. A 
more detailed account of this church and of the 
village of Aston will be given later on, in the 
chai)ter3 devoted to the history of the suburbs of 


Tlic Ro>-ftIiHt« harassed by the iicople of Binningham— " Si^nt t«» Coventrj- "— Discijiliue of the RnyaliKt troope— Prince Rupert oppHaiyl at 
Caiiii> lliU— Defeat of thu towiianien— Lokh of Royali»t ofilccre— Tlie sacking and biirning of the town— Tracts relating to the battle. 

only refused to supply the King's forces with 
swords for their money, but imprisoned diverse 
who bought swords, upon suspicion that they in- 
tended to supply the King's forces with them.** 

The apologists and partizans of the royalists 
have endeavoured to represent the soldiers as 
being restrained from all acts of violence or op- 
pression, and rigorously punished when detected 
therein. " There was not," says Clarendon, in his 
History of the BeMlion^ " the least violence or dis- 
order among the common soldiers in their march 
which 'scaped exemplary punishment, so that at 
Bromwicham, a town so generally wicked, that it 
had risen ujk)!! small parties of the King's, and 
killed or taken them prisoners, and sent them to 
Coventry^ declaring a more peremptory malice to 
his Majesty than any other place, two soldiers 
were executed for having taken some trifle of no 
value, out of a house, whose owner was at that 
time in the rebel's army." How far this represen- 
tation, and that of the "Worthy Gentleman," 
who wrote from " Walshall," are borne out by 
facts, may be judged from the ensuing narrative. 

Early in the spring of 1643, Prince Euperi re* 
ceived orders from his royal master to proceed, 
with a detachment of 1,200 hon% and betweoa 

Our last chapter has somewhat overstepped the 
bounds of the period it was destined to cover. It 
will be necessary, therefore, for us to retrace our 
steps, and take a glance at the doings of our 
townsmen in the year 1642. 

A few days before the memorable IJattle of 
Edge Hill, which was fought on the 23x^1 of 
October, in the above-mentioned year, King 
Charles L passed through Birmingham on his 
march from Slirew8])ury (on which occasion, as 
stated in our last chapter, he was the guest of Sir 
'iliomas Holte, at Aston Hall); and the day after 
left the town, the inhabitants seized his carriages he 
containing the royal plate and other valuables, and 
removed them to Warwick Castle. They also 
harassed the royal party in many ways ; attack- 
ing small parties of them whenever they appeared, 
and sending them as prisoners to Coventry. 
" Hence," says Hutton, " the proverbial expres- 
sion to a refractory person, tierul him to Covvntry" 
Xor did they merely exhibit their preference for 
the Parliament party, by harassing the royalists, 
but afforded material assistance to the fonner, by 
supplying them with arms ; having sent, according 
to the " Letter from WalshaU,'* fifteen thousand 
Bwords for the Earl of Essex's forces, and ** not 



[The Battle <tf Btrwtngtwin 

miglit pHSci tliein by, but as they supposed, his 
design was to enter Staffordshire, they felt that 
there was little ground for the hope. It was about 
three o'clock on Easter Monday afternoon, when 
the prince, with his amiy, i*eached Birmingham. 
I'here was a small company of foot belonging to 
the " rebels " stationed in the town, also a tr<x>i) 
of hors(?, from the garrison at Lichtield, but the 
entire force did not amount to more than two 
hundred, and the prince did not suppose they 
would attempt resistance at such (nlds, so sent his 
([uarter-masters to demand lodging and oiler pro- 
tection ; assuring them, (according to the ** Letter 
from WaUhallf^) that if they would (piietly receive 
his Highness and his forces they should sufl'er no 
injury. " But," says Hut ton, ** the sturdy sons 
of freedom having cast up slight works at each 
end of the town, and barricaded the lesser avenues, 
rejected the offer and the ofhcers." Soldiei-s and 
citizens joined to oj)poso the progress of the 
prince's forces, " and from their little works, with 
mettle c<iuai to their mtdice, they discharged tludr 
shot upon him." ♦ The royalist i)amphlct^er of 
Walsall says tliat ** when his forces drew neare 
they set up their Colours, and sidlyed out of their 
workes, and gave fire upon them, and with oppro- 
bious speeches reviled tliem, calling them Cursed 
doggs, develish Cavaliers, Popish TraytorSy and 
this was done not by a few of them, but by almost 
all of them with groat shouts and clamours." 
They fought bravely, and succeeded twice in 
Ijeatuig off the i)rince'8 army at the entrance of 
the town, but, notwithstanding that thtty had an 
excellent position for defence, were compelled at 
lengtli to yield, being oveipowered by force of 
numbers, the prince's army being in the propor- 
tion of t«n to one. But although he succeeded 
in silencing the townspeople's lii-e he was still 
unable to ent<jr the town, for the inhabitants had 
blocked up the deep and narrow way between 
Deritend and Camp Hill with carriages, so that 
he was compelled to alter his route, and his men 
had to *' force the waies over the medowes . . . 

and so by iucompassiug them that did defend the 
out-worke, caused them to draw inward, to other 
workes there in Dighoth, which worke they de- 
fended to the adversaries losse." * Thoy kept up a 
running fire through the town, but were again 
silenced by the enemy, and put to flight, and 
" with breaking through houses, over garden 
waies, escaped over hedges and boggy medowe*, 
and hiding their anues, saved most of them."t 
" Tlie Cavaliers," says another account, ** rode up 
into the Tuwue like so many Furyes or Beillams, 
the Earle of Denbigh being in the Front, singing as 
ho rode, they shot at every dooro or window where 
they coidd espy any looking out, they liacked, hewed, 
or pistolled all they met with, without distinction, 
blaspheming . . [and] cm-sing most hideously. "J 
' Discovering a troop of horse (of the Parliament- 
' ary army) which was under tlie command of 
I Captain Greaves, at the northern end of the town, 
i the Earl of Denbigli i)ui'sued them some two miles 
i out of town, up Shii-land lane, in the manor of 
j Smethwick, when, says the writer of the first 
narrative in the True Relationy § ** Captain 
I GiXMives observing his time, betwixt two woods, 
faced about and charged the pursuers most 
valiantly, as they themselves confesse, and drove 
them backe agoine : in which charge Denby 
was slaine immediately, and the rust fled, and 
so we escaped with safety; onely Captaine Greaves 
i-eceived one shot in the face, and a cut in the 
ai'me, but not mortall : in the pursuit of that 
troope God made a way for all our souldiers, 
saving some two or tliree, to esca^M) most with their 
ai'mes, which they threw away and hid in pita and 
ditches as they could, whereof the most, I thinke, 
the cavaleeres found not, and not one Captaine or 
Officer was hurt or taken prisoner, nor any consider- 
able man, but most poore fellowes, and maliguants, 
because they could meet with no better, and all 
are released saving two of the best, tliough of no 

* '* A True Rf lation," etc. [R. O.'e nairatiyel «ei p. S7. 
fib., we/J. 37. 

X " Prince Rupert's Burning LoTe," «m p. M, 
i SappoMd to be R. Porter, « eword-blade mannfbctorar, of 
THrminghem, eer nui pag* 

Tit* IWnl* i£ lUiTiiinffliiini 1 



pT % fiume rv^'iLom-.a thoraselves for 2d., 

1 2 - 1. npicc^, and some one or twofor 208/* 

Provoked at the con tinned resiatanco of the 
and still moi'C rnraged at the loss of 
fct^.^. ,., .iiif^uished officers of his army, Ptinco 
Supcit gave orders lo his soldions to sot lire, to tho 
kiwn. "His wmth ib said to have kindled in 
Bun StTt^ct," snys llulton, **and consumed several 
bockset Boar the ifspot^ now No. 12," The wrikr 
«f ibe pamphlet entitled Prince Rupert's Bimunrf 
l/K^^ ete,^ sav^ *' they ustnl all possible diligence 
in every Street to kindle fire in the T*»wne 
wiili GmipowileT, Match, W^mjs of Straw, and 
Be*3niesL burning coalos of fire ii't*. Ihmg into 
Stiaw^ Hay, Kid pDes [/.r, piles of wood fuel], 
C»fl*.*rs, niatcb. and any other places, where it 
WHS hictsly to ralch hold ; . , . yea, it ia cson- 
fjdently reloted, that they shot fire out of their 
Piatolif, wrapping lighte*! MaWh with powder or 

I tmot other ingredients in formes of slugs, or bullets 
in btovB PaptT, which themselves* coiifcased wns 
^tm Lonl Diffhiea devise, that English Firebrand ; 
«xid lest any should «ive any of their goods they 
h*id Wt, or quench their flames, they stuod with 
thm drawno swonls and Pistils, ahoul the bum- 
jiig HoujBes, shooting and indeavouring to kill every 

I oae that, appearwil to preserve goods, and cpieneh 
linp/* Eighty-sevi'n houses are said to hnve 
thus distlvM'ed, besides stables and oilier 

r oiillmQilin^c^ an<l between three and four hundred 
pcts^tfins were I»^ft homeless, 

Xni eont**nt witlj thus setting tire to the town, 

* tlnij ftt^o pillaged aiul plundered the town to a 
ooottdomlile extent, " picking piirfies antl pockets, 
■KIT * ' n holes and comers, Tiles of bouses, 
Wt i ios^ Vaulta, Gardt-ns, tind every place 

\ \hty ociqH suspect for money and ipfoods/* One 
niOBtss Peake, a miser, wns said to have been 
robbed of nearly £'1,500, Altogether, the pam- 

I fibkteer above qnoted estimates that they took 
away from the town about £3,000 in money, 
•pesdifig the liui^t night of their occupation of the 
lovn in tlift most shameless rioting, drunkenness, 
dithAttcbory* Ypt withal Vicar says, \n his 

God in the Mounts ** that in the plund<^ring and 
burning of the Town, tho greatest losse was to tho 
malignant partie of that Town who hihabited 
among them, most of the honest and godly men 
there, having by God^s mercy and good providence 
carry ed and conveyed away tlioir best goods into 
Coventry before the Cavaliei-s cam« to their Town." 
Some time after this tho royalists caused the 
Til ade-m ill of one Mr, Porter to Ikj destroyed, on 
aceoiint of the disloyalty of its owner, in making 
8Wor<l-b]adeK tliereat for the aen^ice of tlie Purlia* 
ment-iry aruiy only. Thi^^ Mr. Porter would 
appear to bo the ** R. P.*' whosa signature i^ 
appeudod to the first of the two narratives in the 
'*Tiue Relatrou of Prince Ruperts Barbaruuf* 
( *ruelty against the Tnwue of Rrumingham," for 
he says thepuin, *'The maliguants . . , Ijave 
since pnlh*d down my Wi\\ and prt-tend tliat 
1 Prince Pupert so *>ommanded/' If it he the same, 
tins old liiniiingham sword-cutler could not ouly 
nudce these implements nf warfare, but also knew 
well how to use them, for lie .says iw his narrative 
that he himself was in Captain Greaves' troop 
whif'li so valiantly withstood and vanquirflied 
their pursuers near Smethwick, in winch engage- 
ment the Karl of Denbigh lost his life. 

We have thus endeavoured to re-tell the story 
of the Bidtlf' of Binuingliam from the jmmphlets 
and other coutenijHirary record i^ therf^nf, hirt as 
there may be aninng our readers some who ai'e 
dci^irous of i^erusing IheHe euriout; old pamphlets 
themselves, we have here i*e[>rinted them verbatim. 
The lirst in clironologiral order is that to which 
we have just referixd, containing two narratives, the 
first signed " E. P. [1 R. Porter] Gw^niri/, A/nif 8, 
164.1," and tlie second " R G/' It is entitled : 

A THl'K 





To which place on Mondfty Apr. 3, 1<J13, be mnrebt with 
2000 hf^me nad foot, 4 Dmkos, and 2 Sokera ; when 



[The Battle of Binningbam. 

after two hoares fight (being twice beat, n off by the 
Townsmen, in all but 140 Kusquetcers) he entered, 
put (livers to the Swonl, and burnt about 80 Houses 
to ashes, suffering no man to carry away his goods, 
or quench the fire, and making no difference between 
friend or foe ; yet by Ood's providence the greatest 
losse fell on the malignants of the Town. 

And of the Cavaliers were slaine divers chiefe Commanders, 

and men of great quality, amongst whom was 

the Earle of Denbigh, the Lonl John 

Stewart : and as themselves 

report, the Lord Digby. 

London : 

Printed for John Wright in the Old-baily, 

April 12, 164.3. 


K K L A T I O N , 


J. rf OUGH I can write you but the same 
lamentation which I believe you have already heard, yet 1 
cannot be silent to .acquaint you of the truth as neere as 1 
can ; If Coventrey had sent us what heli>e it iiii^^ht, I 
beleeve the enemy durst not have assaulted us, but in 
regard they had been in danger of cutting off by tlie way, 
in case they had been sent, I must excuse them, though 
it be to our owne suffering. We with the Captaines were 
sensible, that if the Cavaliers came, we were not likely to 
withstand them, they being neei-e ir>00, and we not alwve 
150 Musketiers, with a Troope of Horse of Captaine 
C; reaves, which did no good but in their flight, as here- 
after you will heare ; but in regard the generall desire of 
the Towno, especially of those that bore Armes, would 
have them stand it out, and not march away with their 
.-Vrmes, as we might in time, and that both they, and the 
malignant would have reviled, and curst the Captaines 
and Majestratcs of the Towne if they had left tlicni, made 
the Captaines and better f ort content to stay and trie the 
issue, rather than be so perpetually r»*j>roacht. And 
though the same fall hard on our side in loosing the 
Towno and some Armes, and about 80 Houses burnt to 
ashes, with all that therein was, and some fifteen men, 
and two women lost their lives, yet their gaiue was 
nothing at all, yea, they count it greale losse and curse 
the time that ever they medled with us, for I beelive 
they lost as many ordinary men as we, besides three men 
of great quality, which they much lament, whereof two 
of them were Lords, as we have great cause to thinke, the 
one the Earle of Deuby that's sure, the other we 
something doubt of his name, but we heare by divers of 
the Cavaliers it is Digby, sure we are he is wounded ; and 
it is as sure that some of their CoUonels say it was a man 
of greater ranke, and more considerable then Denby ; the 
other a chiefe Commander : Denby pursued Captaine 
GreaTes Troope some two Miles out of Towne being at 

their heeles, before our Troope departed, among whom I 
went away, and Captain Greaves observing his Time 
betwixt two woods faced abont, and charged the pursuers 
most valiantly as they themselves confesse, and drove 
them backe againe : in wliich charge Denby was slaine 
immediately, and the rest fled, and so we escaped with 
safety ; onely Captaine Greaves received one shot in the 
face, and a cut in the Anne, but not mortall; in the 
pursuit of that troope God made a way for all our 
souldiers, saving some two or three, to escape most with 
their armes, which they threw away and hid in pits and 
ditches as they could, whereof the most, I thinke, the 
cavaleeres found not, and not one Captaine or Officer was 
hurt or taken i»risoner, nor any considerable man, but 
most poore fellowes, and malignants, because they couM 
meet with no lietter, and all are released saving two of 
tlie bi'st, though of no great quality, some redeemed them- 
selves for 2d. 12d. and 8d. apiece, and some one or two 
for 20s. Prince Hubert being enragcil that he should 
take never a jjrisoner of so great a company, and of those 
not to raise 20/. when he himselfe had undergon so great 
a losse ; and of tho8<? that were slaine [of our side were 
most poore malignants, some three young men of onlinary 
quality that bare Armes, and John Carter, and that in 
their flight ; for but one was slaine,] and one lightly shot 
in the flesh ; in the enterance for pillage they sitare^l 
non?, friend or foe they lighted of, yet for the most part 
those that did most against them escaped best, the same I 
may say of the fire, though they intended to bume the 
Towne utterly, as may be known by their laying lightetl 
match, with powder, j»nd other combustible matter at the 
other end, which fired in divers places, and divers was 
found out and prevented, so that we may truely say, that 
the flames, sword, pilledgers, but especially the prison, 
made a difference betwixt those that feared Ood, and 
those that fearc him not. But this is remarkable in their 
vilenesse, that all these houses saving two were fired in 
cold blood, at their departure, wherein they endeavouretl 
to fire all, and in the flames they would not suffer the 
l>eoj)le to carr}' out their goods, or to quench it, 
triumphantly with reproaches rejoyced that the Wind 
stood right to consume the Towne, at which present the 
Lord caused the Winds to turn, which was a token of his 
notice of their insultation. 

For pillage 1 heare but of little 1 lost, having obscured 
the things I had of any valew ; and for fire, God did 
marveliously prevent, both to me and many others, 
whereat the malignants are so enraged that they have 
since pulled down my Mill, and pretend that Prince 
Hupert so commanded, and threaten to pull downe my 
house and divers others, which I thinke they dare not, 
lest they build it up againe, the County having sent them 
admonition of their insolency. 

Prince Rupert with Hastings kept their rendervow this 
day, within two miles of Lichfield, as we credibly heare, 
what their designe is we know not. I believe they can 
doe no good* at Lichfield; I hope their cruelty in our 
sufferings will provoke this unwilling kingdoxne to 
jealousy for the Parliament. I pray you when you have 
i-cad this, shew it to Mr. B. and Mr. £. not onely to 

Ae Bim» of Bf rniihebAm. ] 



■ ' itli tb« newcs, but of my being in hcjillbj 

i 'ay, wherdn I ljf*vo gjtnt cniinp to 
WT-j>: irj lUr Una, niul fcO 1 ii»t, 

Yotir loring friend, 

my pTomi«s Ingoged unto you, I am now 

"n Af n most btiTl>aroua mnssucree of our 

m, and of Iht; enraged rnjfhy of 

uhumanc CavalierB ; Sir, thus it 

«M» *U»iii iiir«j4: ol the clocki} out' Minntnv in the after- 

pftcse the Towne, nnd force the waies ovci' Ihe uu'dowes, 
«Tii\ ft rod the Towne in two plates, and so by in com parsing 
tln^rn tbttt did dufend the ottt-wprlcp'^ cttUBcd them to dmw 
inwuiHl, to othrr ivotkes tbete in Digboth, v:hirh worke 
they defended to the ndversaries lof*e, bnt being the 
enemy brake in at tbe Millone* they were forced to leave 
that worke also, find so put to shift for themselves, with 
breaking through houses^ over garden waies, escaped over 
hedges und boggy medowes, and hiding their armes, saved 
mciftt of them> the <'iieniy killed none, rb I here in fight 
nnlesse some three or foure, Air. Carter, and Saninell 



J^^Qe, lie httil witb nei^re two thousand horse ;ind footf, 
wtTf tir^Ivf-^ und two Sakeri, act agjinst the towne, 
J' « or»lnani <>, und endeavouring to foire his 

• and horse, were twice beaten off with our 

• the entrance of Lkrrimfhm, tit which many 

" '-^1, the towni^ft-men held them in play jibove 

^ hiittTn, '•^ had not above one hundred and fonilie 
■«»«joeta and having many entrances into the towne they 
•** many too few, Conientnj men had withdrawn e their 
tettthi-^- '--- »..r .-^, ,m yj,jt i^i^XMwz CaMkdomten 
jNp^t" '>rae of Mitster /Vrjir/fcoinrnnnded 

"fOiplau* -,..<,^, m,- in th*« Towne, not fit for that 
•'Tip?, JOmXtf f*r«jx* when the wlvrj-wirieH began to incom- 

EJmiKrre^ \mj\g of them, some with their aniRS defended 
lhe»msplv'ps stoutly till death, they persued the rest in 
tit'kls anil lanes, cutting and luoBt barbarously mangling 
naked men to the number of fifteene men, one woman, 
another bring shot, and many hurt, many men sore 
woiindinl, aud Mr. TiUam the surgeon standing in hia 
dor© to entertaine them, was most cruelly shot, havine 
his leg and thigh boneft broken, they pilluged the Towne 
genemlly, their owno friends sped worst, and one tneaday 
morning set fire in diverse places of the Towne, and bavo 
bnrnt neere a hundred dwellings the Webb end, Dale 

* li tliU a mlK-prlnt Tor MiVrtaw f 



[The Battle of Birmingfaaic. 

einl, and More street end, Ilimiphroy JlanSf tho Bell, and 
diverse liouses therealK)nt, many other lires they kindled, 
but they did not bume, they left kindled matches with 
gunpowder nlso in other places, intending nothing lesse 
then utterly to destroy the Towne, but by Gods providence 
they whose hurt they chiefly intended by Gods hand is 
much prevented, tlie Cavaliers lye about Clanke beyond 
WosaJl, are joyned with Hastings forces, and intend to 
set on the Close at Lichfield^ where I feare not but they 
will have enough ; your Father's house stands, but hath 
lost much, ^Fr. Rdtcrta Mr. PorUrs^ and mine be safe, but 
are threatned to bo pulled downc, and they pretend Prince 
Ruiyerts warrant, but however its their envy to God's 
overruling providence hath turned the mischiofe so much 
on the heads of those that might with their timely helj»e 
have preventetl this mischief ; I am much grieved at the 
losae of your brother, and many other friends, three being 
my honest worke-men, whose lives I would I had redeemed 
with mine estate. The Cavaliers have lost thirty men at 
least, of which there be three or foure chiefe men Earles 
and Ijord.s, I beleeve you have heard them named the 
Earle of Denhy^ the Lord John Stevxirt^ some say the 
Lord Dighy, thirty are said to be buried and many carried 
awny woun<led, this did so much enrage them, that they 
appeared more like Devills then men, lamenting more 
their losse, then boasting of their gaine, which was much 
in goods and in money, its thought above two-thousand 
l>ound, thirteene hundred being taken from Mr. Pcake, 
Mr. Jenncns lost much, the which men if they had parted 
with little before, our fortification had beene such as 
they could not have entred, which went on well for the 
time. So wishing you to have comfort in our God, who 
is able to turne the rage of men to his j)raiKe, and 
sweeten this bitter cup by some other comfort, I conclude 
ond rest. 

Yours to commnnd, 

I could wish I might hcure how the City stands nflect'-d 
with our losse, for a little relicfe from them, might nun*h 
comfort many poore people, which have lost all, and ore 
left well nie naked and harbourlesse : it would much 
encourage all to stand out in the cause, that ait? but 
indifferent, a helj>e to ease the better party of, the 
burthen of the which will be otherwaies too great for 
us ; I would move some friends if you thinke fit, I have 
already put on the worke of contribution in this City. 


Tlie second ift that of tlio royalist of Walsall : 




W A L S H A L L , 


B V R M I N G 11 A M . 





Printed in the Yeare M.DU.XLIIL 
(A MS. Note adds "April 14th.") 

EARING of the appri^ach of Prince 
liuprrf. his Ilighnesse, and coming according to my duty 
to attend him. In my way I heard of the miserable 
destruction of Burmingham by fire ; which I must con- 
fcflse tooke the deei>est Apprehensions with me of any one 
accident since the beginning of these unhappy distract ioa^t, 
as presenting to my view a picture of the present estate of 
Oemmnif, and as by a pros]>ective shewing roe (not T»»ry 
farro OiT) the Scene translated from thence hither. Thin 
sad thought dn'w me to a more narrow enquiry of the 
causes of the burning of the Towne, and wliether it 
was (ione by authority or no. And I found that the 
Inhabitants of that Towne were they who first Btirre.! 
up those of Corrutri/ to resist the King, and that about 
300 from thence went into Coventry to defend it against 
the Kings Forces, that from thence they sent 15000 
Swonls for the Eario of Essex liis Forces, and the ayd 
of that Party, and not onely refused to supply the King's 
Forces with Swonls for their money, but imprisoned 
diverse who bought swords, ui>on suspicion that they 
intended to supply the King's forces with them. That 
aftorwanls when His Majesty marched that way with His 
Army, out of his princely goodnesse and in hope that His 
Grace and favour would prevayle with them to turne good 
subjects, he gave expresse order that they should not be 
])lundered. and because some were plundered (though but a 
few and very little taken from them) there was exemplary 
.lustice done by the hanging of two Officers, and they had 
a sp4»ciall protection gittntetl to them. Yet so little use 
did they make of the King's Clemency, that the King's 
Army was no sooner removed from thence but they stayml 
nil the Carriages which did not move the same day with 
the King's Army, amongst which was some of the King's 
Plate and diverse goods of great value, and therein they 
were so hearty and zealous that at their owne charges they 
carried them to H'arirklr Castle before the king was out 
of that Shire. 

And they have still continued u^wn all occasions 
violently to oppose tlie King, and to aytl those who 
have taken up amies against him. Insomuch that they 
made fortifications al>out the Town, and sent out parties 
to plunder the King's friends. 

And when his Highnesse upon Munday last sent one to 
them to take up his quarter at Burtningham, who assured 
them that if they would quietly receive his Highnesse 
and his forces they should sutler no injury. But otherwise 
they must exi)ect to be forced to it, they refused to give 
him Entrance, and pre^iared themselves with all their 
strength to resist him ; and when his forces drew neare 
they set up their Colours, and sallyed out of their workes, 
and gave fire upon them, and with opprobions speeches 
reviled them, calling them Cursed dogga, develisk Cavalien, 

» of Binulngfeia.] 



i^fuh Tra^ttofs, End this wii* dime not by a few of theai 

but Vy almost all of ihftn vriUi great abouts arid clainoiirs. 

I Thh could not Imt intcns*? the arnddicrs, und the Triace 

III make ki!* ]jii<isago into the Towdo wns forced to ^ve 

l«d«rs for fijin^ a house or two ; but they r«liring and 

|ll|rtli^^ upon his cntmncc into the Townc he itnnn^diately 

'g*rit orlcr for tjneuching of the fii"e which wru* done 

ii»rdlt)|(l7, und no iuoid Unrt wa^ done on Muiiduy. 

t je^t^rdny hia lli^huesse being to march from them'e, 

fr^Tin^ what those great provocations miglit worke 

'wit] he guve exprcsac comiurmd that no 

til . jn[>t to firu the Towne. And nfter hli 

are ih«nc« »om« honldit-rs (»s yet nnknownj having 

i the Towne in diverse places, he immediatly »eiit to 

t^ inhahi Lints of the Towne, to Itt thum know it wo* not 

doii£ by hi a command, uod therefore wiahod them to qnench 

11, hut the wind being high and the iirc encreased, it could 

DCi btf m> Boone extingnliithed an wiis to he dcidrctl I 

0»c thing more t heard of iit thi» taking of Burminff- 
A<wn, wliieJi uiajde isome Impression with me, which wait 
the ilenth of ft minister killed presently after the entry of 
the touldif^rs into the Towne. But it is alleadged that he 
lold the aotildier who killed him, that the King was a 
Pefjnred anil Papisticall Kingi and that he had rather dye 
lli€n lire under such a king, and that he did and would 
u»i him ; and in his pofzket after his death were 
De jAaper? »n!fiiient to make niee to beleeve the 
i either nuul, or one of the new Enthusirtsts, It 
bftciiaiift my moilcsty to re^H^at them, but the truth (wldch 
^1 you will d«^&ire to know) extorts them from mee, some of 
H Uirm wcr* to this effect, that the 2S of March last ho had 
^^Wc< " ■' KiBsv frcm Mris, E. with some moyst- 

^^^B.^ <*tber day a cynnamon Kisse from another 

^^iSlinaw, aiuL another from one of 14 yearea old, with much 
III mmt marh like stuffe which I blush to write, 
|H And attt^ly whatsoever the Principles of the«e teachers 
H way b<, the conclusions made by their Diisciplcs is very 

V itms^gis. One of the be«t sort of their priaouera heix* being 

V iliace>fmF«l '^ithall ronceming hia taking np am»es against 
~ Uie Ki-b^ ! how he could tnke up armes in 

his oathv of Altegiiitice and Su- 
I iy answered, he never did nor never 

r lit t« write U> yoa, whih' the memory 

Irtish ; and though it may be accom- 

cireumstancca, yet it mmdi troubk*8 hia 

Li this Accident ahouJd now fall out, he well 

knowing that they who are the great BouU Jiem and 

liusaidiarka In the State, will be apt to calumniate him 

lor tin firing of this Towne, which he never Commanded 

«r C«v&tenancedr and the actors of which he ia moat 

^wiffnoa to puni»bt and h most carefnll to find out. And 

tUb MJTBtivM '"'^^ 111 I'L v.iu TitMV V conJident is true, 

OMontQ^ froni 

faithftdi Servant. 
WaUliali, A|itll 2^. IfiS. 


TliH third, which certainly bears the pulm for 
cumi)relieiisiveue8^ of title, m qiuiiutly iiititlrd, 



Dl8«.K>VlCltEl» IN 

A more ExatJt and true Narntion of Bimiingham* b Cala^ 
mitics, under tlic barbiroua and inhumane 
Cruelties of P. l{upert*8 forces, 
Whcr»iin is related how that famous and well atlc^ncd 
Town of Binninfjkam was 
L'uworthily opijostd, \ 
Insolently invadtd, j 
Notoriouiily robbed 

and plundered, f Bij li^ittce I{u|H'rl*tj ForccM. 

And moat cruelly tilled i 
in cold blood the 
next day. ^ 

Together with the Numher ol Prince Ilujfcrt's Foix'e«| 
his considerable Persons slaiiu*, or mortally wounnled ; 
th<?ir many abominable Carriagiis in and after the taking 
of the Town. The small Strength which Birtfiiwjfunn 
hiul to iriaintaiue thi-ir defence, the Namca of their men 
slidne ; the tmiubcr of houses burned, and persons thereby 
destitute of hiibitation ; with divers otlier considerable 

Published at the request of the Committee at Coventry^ 
that the Kingdom may timely take notice what is generally 
to be expected U' the Cavaliers iu»olcncics be uot speedily 

A TLghtcoas man tfQarihth the lifs of his Bea4% but the 
tiHfUr vurck^ of tlu wicked arc erue.lL Prov, xii, 10. 

londun: Printed for Thmnaw F^vdethill, 1643. 
[A MS. Note adds, " Ut of May."] 

tkl:k relation 


At Bmnirtjfhavtf in Warwickahiie. 


iO correct the many false Reporta already 
fpreikd abroad, and to prevent all hha narrations for 
future, conceniing tlie late surprisall and spoyliug of the 
Towne of Bit tain gUtm^ in the County of W unpick. 
Tins ensuing Itcktion of Passages, hiith bcenc collected 
from the severall I ti formations of divers tru-sty and 
Intel ligent Inhabitants of Birmiinjimm^ who were eye 
witnesses of, and sutferers nndcr many the said caJamitiot 
of that Towne^ so farre as the tmth of smih turbulent 
diatmctfid Oocurrents can be yet discorered. 
The Towne of Birmingham perouiving tl^iat for their 



[The Battle of Bhmingfaam. 

fjiitlifull alfection to King and Parliament, ihuy had de- 
rived the hatred of Popish and prophane Malignants upon 
themselves ; and that since the Noble I^rd Brookes death, 
these parts of the Country began to be much infested uith 
divers Troopes of Kobbers and Plunderers, whereby their 
persons and estates were much indaugered, resolved to 
Arme themselves and estates, and to maintaine two Cap- 
taines for the better Disciplining and ordering of their 
men to that end : But whilst they were beginning to make 
some slight mounds and Breast-works for defence the week 
before Kaster last, information came that Prince llvj^ert 
with 1500 or 2000 men with 4 Drakes and 2 Sacres was 
upon his march at Stratford upon Avon and about llcnly 
some 10 miles distant from Binningham^ whore these 
forces hovered about 4 dayes, pillageing the Country ex- 
treamly (as their manner is) Bimiinijham hoped they 
might ]iasse by them, but afterwards pen'civing on Satur- 
day night, that it was probable their designe was toward 
Staffordshire^ and that tliey would take Birmingham in 
their way ; The Minister of Binningluun entreated the 
Captaines and chiefe of the Towne, by no meanes to thinke 
of such an impossible defence of themselves a^jainst 2000, 
themselves having scarce six score Mus([ueteei*s in all the 
Towne, but rather to march away with all their Armes, 
and so secure their Armes and persons, though their goods 
were hazarded, as a thing farre more safe and rationall, 
which motion the Captaines and chicle of the Town readily 
imbraced, but the middle and inferior sort of people, 
(especially those that bore Annes) would by no meanes be 
drawn to leave the Towne, and so they all resolved to 
stand upon their own guard, otherwise the chiefe of the 
Towne and the Captaines must have departed as Cowards, 
with great Contempt many seomes and curses. 

Oji Easter Monday Prince Jlu})€^'Cs Forces approtiched 
to the Towne about 2 or 3 o'Clock in the Aftcmoone, at 
one end, jiresently assaulted it with great fuiy, discharging 
their Musquets and great pieces onely about 100 Mus- 
ketiers opjwsing them (the rest hiding themselves) which 
were also divided into severall ends of the Town, and not 
many in any one place, a gootl while the Musketiei-s kept 
them off their Works, and drove them back till they 
tii-ed a thatched house, and burnt 2 or 3 houses at Towns 
end and their Horse also broke into the fields and came in 
at the backsides of the Town through Lake-meadow, 
which forced the Towus-meu to retreat back into the 
Towne to chaise them, when they came up, when they 
slew some very considerable man who was presently 
stripped of his rich garments, and wrapped in a gray 
coat, and a woman of theirs suborned to lament for him 
as her husband, they called him Adam a Bell, but this 
loss© so enraged them that they presently burnt 2 or 3 
houses to the ground, where they conceived he was shot ; 
then they broke in so forcibly ujwn the few men in the 
town that they were forced to scatter and fly for their 
lives. It is very remarkable that none of them were 
slaine or hurt whiles they stood upon their Guard (as is 
credibly averred) till they scattered and were so singled 
out. The Cavaliers rode up into the Towne like so many 
Furyes or Bedlams, the Earle of Denbigh being in the 
Front, singing as ho rode, they shot at every doore or 

window whei-e they could espy any looking out, they 
hacked, hewed, or pistolled all they met with, without 
distinction, blaspheming, cursing, and damVning them- 
selves most hidiously. Discovering a Troope of Horse, 
which was under the command of Captain Greaves at the 
further end of the Towne facing them, they pursued after 
them, who after a little flight wheeled about, and most 
stoutly charged them through, and the Captaine received 
five small wounds (which are now almost well :) In which 
charge the £a. of Denbigh was knockt off his horse, laid 
for dead, and his pockets rifled (though his wounds not 
so mortall as to die presently) the rest of his horse were 
chased till they came neere their own Colours, which was 
excellent Service, for meane while most of the Townes 
foot escaped away. 

After which Captaine Oreaves retreated, and so advanced 
to Lichfield. Their Horse rode desparatly round the Town, 
leaping hedges and ditches (wherein one is reported to 
breake his neck) to catch the Townes-men ; no madmen 
could ride more furiously. They slew in their frenzy as 
we are informed, about 14 in all, viz. John Carter , junior, 
William Knight^ Glasier, William Billingsley, junior, 
Joseph Rastcllf William Turton, Cutler, Thomas the 
Ostler at Swan, pistolled comming oflSciously to take their 
Horses, Richard Hunt Cobler, Henry Benton Labourer, 
Samuel Elsmore Cutler, William Ward Cutler, Richard 
Adams Cobler, Widdow Collins, Lucas his Wife, and one 
Mr. WhiteJiall a Minister, who hath bin long Lunatick, 
held Jewish opinions, and had layn in Bedlam and other 
prisons (some say) 16, some 22 yeares, and was lately come 
out ; they comming to him asked him if he would have 
<iuarter, he answered to this (or like purx)06e) he scorned 
Quarter from any Popish Annies or Souldiers, whereupon 
they supiK)sing him to be Mr. Roberts yiimster of Birming- 
ham, did most cnielly mangle and hack him to death, and 
found certain idle and foolish pai)ers in his pocket, 
which they spared not to divulge (as they thought to the 
Roundheads infamy) and so went insulting up and down 
the Towne that they had quartered their Minister, out of 
whose bloody hands the Lord's gracious providence de- 
livered him a little before the Towne was assaulted, au-l 
(blessed be (Jod) hee is neither slain nor hurt. All the 
considerable men escaped out of their snare, some 40 (they 
say) were taken prisoners, whereof scarce 20. of their own 
Towne, all inferior men, most of them their own favourci"i», 
an«l since for trifling sums of money they are released all, 
save 2 or 3 (as unworthy to be kept.) 

Having thus |)ossesscd themselves of the Towne, they 
ran into every house cursing and damming, threatning 
and terrifying the poorc women, most terribly, setting 
naked Swords and Pistolls to their breasts, they fell to 
plundering all the Towne before tliem, as well Malignants 
as others, picking purses, and pockets, searcliing in holes 
and comers. Tiles of houses. Wells, Pooles, Vaults, 
Gardens and every place they could suspect for money 
and goods, forcing people to deliver all the money they 
had. It is credibly believed they took from one Thomas 
Peake a Councellor 1500 or 1300 /». at least, for ho after- 
wanls deeply professed that they had but left him in 
money 15iL q ; and it was commonly known he had aboat 





[Th« B«U)a ot Slrmltighaciii. , 

ilio wiiO sums lyiug fanktriug anl rusting by him for 
ihfso iDftny Yenrea, unci yet to tJiis day he would never 
voluntarily leud or give the least samme for the Belief of 
Uod's Ch : and the Laud in llm present saddest distresswi, 
who being under Oiuals hands (m we arc cr^ibly 
iTilonne*!) when tidiugs of their MiniRter'a death wa« 
brought to hiuj, rei»liod (thinking thereby to curry 
favour) that it Imd bin well if he had bin kilkd 7 
ye^rcs agoc. They havo had divers great Summer also 
frtjm othcra, who htive shewed small love to King and 
Parliament ; tooke much money to proti.*tt jM»o(di?*fi 
Houses, and afterwards betrnycil th<^m, and Jict thcro 
on fij-e. It is conceived ttiey hud 3eH)0/. in money 
from the Townc. They beaafly nss»«lied many Women's 
rhastit)% ond itnimdently made their braga of it after- 
wards, how many tliey hid ravished ; glorying in 
their shame, especially the Frrnrh among them, were 
oittragionsiy h»»civious and letchcTOU*. They broke the 
Windowes, s]Joyled the gDodn they could not take away, 
iind carried with them all the chiefe goods in the Townc, 
some having littk leK, some nothing but bare walla, some 
nothing but tloatlies on their backs, and some atiipped to 
their very shirts an<l left nuked. That night few or none 
of them went to Bed, but sate up revelling, robbing, «nd 
Tyrannizing over Ih** jioore affrighted Women and j»ri. 
aoncrB, drinking drunken healihing upon their kneels yen 
drinking HealthJi to PdnLe Muperti Dog. 

Nor did their rage here ceJise, but when on next day 
they were to march forth of the Towne, they used all pH>9* 
Slide tlEigeuee in eveiy Street to kindle fire iu the Tovvne 
with CfUnfKJwder, Alateb, Wispej* of Straw, and Besonics 
burning coalesof fire&c, tlung itUo Straw, Hay, Kid piles, 
fullers, Thatch, and aay otlier places, where it was likely 
lo oateh hold ; many of which attempti* were saccesslesse 
and found after their departure, yea, it is confidently re- 
lated, that they shot fire out of their Pistolla, wrapping 
lighted Match with powder or some other ipgredienbi in 
formeti of alugs, or bullets in brown I'aiwr, which them- 
jselve^ confej^sed was the Lord Dighi/'i devl«^e, that English 
Firebrand ; nnd lest any should save any of their goods 
they had left, or quench their flames, they stood with their 
Jmwne swords and Pistols, akiut the burning Houses, 
hooting and indeavouring to kill every one that appeared 
to preserve goods, and quench the fire, domineering at the 
ftajnes, Where*s if our Covert (nj noivf IF hen' a ijoiir God 
lirookes now f Vou matf set how God Ji/jhts agninM 3/0 w, 
&e. And when some of the Town (whose purser bad 
<learely purchased some interest among them) diswadcd 
them from further fiering, one of their owne men confessed 
that every QuartermasUr was swome to fire his owne 
Quarter, and that they durst not hut doe it. By all 
which it notoriously appcares, that their full intention 
i**w, and that by command (let them pretend what excuse 
they can) to bume downe the whole Towne to the ground, 
and doubtlesse would have done it^ had not the Lord been 
ihd more memfull : the houses burned, were about B7* 
besides multitudes of Barnes, Stables, and other back 
buildings, Ijelouging both to these dwelling Houses and 
to others that escaped the lUmes, Persons unfumiahod 
and faUen into extreme distre«86 by this fire, 340, and 

upwards. Ho that nrnny mt quji. 
barojm cruelties, which 0110 wi mncli 
much OS Jill these (except fivt? or six hi 
in cool blood, the next day after they 
Towne. And yet for all this th« 8oubij i; Ifl 

habitants, that Prince Jtuptri dealt wiQ 

them : but when they came back againe with lh*j Qa 
Af^iy^ they would If'sve neither Man, Woman, 
childe alive. Such are the Cavaliers morcies. 
Towne (as is thought) was the first Towne in 
Kingdom, that was gemridly plunder\;d when 
King nmrchcd from Shrcusburp, before Kq/nton batt« 
and the lirst tlmt in cohl blood was barbai-oasly It 
However Piince Ktiiicrt bath got hiUi&elfe ftemai 
honour, by conquering ho mighty an enemy us IC 
Mosketieru, with so small an army as SHOO, m«ii. Sin^ 
their dej»artm"e Pjincc RtifKri heart Rg that som* 
Birminfjhatn^ cursed him for his Cnjcltif>3, had deaig 
(fts one of th*^!r owne Party inforn»»*d) two Trooptt* 
Horse to fire the rest of the Towne. Whereupon !*f^ine 
the Towne petitioning him not to doe it, he rcplred I 
would not if they rel^elled not agidm^^ nor i**^tumed lo th 
Tomit. Sithence they have cauetMl one Mr. Porters Xih 
mill in the Towne, to be pulled downe, wherein swonlbU 
were made and imployed, onely for tins wrvi<'e of 
Parliament, and so they w^cre Lnfonned (which 
erecting about 100/.) threatning if it were not li<]tll| 
downe, the r«*8t of the Towne sJiould be burnt Pot tin 
they Inegin to be great Agents in Kire-Workes» 

On their part it is probably believed there fell tliti 
veiy considerable Men, rr:, ICarle of Denbigh who did 
not long after of his Wountls, an*>tlier as is supposed, 
Sir iraiiam AYKES. The third o^ yet not knowue. 

Certainely two Collins wei-e made in Btrniivifham, whil 
the Earle of Denbigh was alive ; and many comina 
Souldiors are supijosed to be slaiue, some susjmcte*! lo 
buryed in the Breast* worke» ditch tliey enlredt whic 
they laid tiat, and charged that none should meddle wi^ 
it a|K)u priine of death, and when they came into til 
Towne, they cursed at the Round-heads, and swore 
sltotf nt if they hud been efhooting at .V/«rr(itr«, n^vtree en 
missed Man or Horse. They tooke away two Cart loa*l 
wounded Aten, about 12 in a Cart, when they went awajj 
Now they have made BIrminfjham a w*oful ' 
behold, a thorow Faire for Thieve* and j^lunileuTs ; 
rich are wofully wasted and spoyled mnltitudi% olmm 
quite beggei-ed, and undone ; it is thought 2000 
cannot rcpaire their lossts, their own Malignant noig 
hours rage at the welbaffected, like mad men, thil 
minister \h driven from home, debarred from all inijdojj 
ment and deprived of all his maintenance ; bc«ide 
many Iors<"ii by fire an«J plundering, and till tho 
be cleared small hopes of hia safe returne, being so' 
maligned and threatned by the Cavaliers, and 
domineering anti-guurd led in Birmingham, The Pcop 
that ai'e left are fed with sutdi rayUng Sermons as od 
Orton Curute to Parson Smith the ancient Pluralist 
afforrl them, rankly tempered with the malignancy of ' 
owne distempered Spirit. And all welbatfoctod Pe* 
are forced to be absent from their habitations, to thd 

dl»rf» iu Uii« thoir low esUte, for feare of 

l<ir?t famines \mng pi offered to apprehend 

o*e of better mnko. Yet they deisire 

' io\ ^*^ ptttieotly ar»d profitnbly take with 

joy tiiv . ill tbeir goods, kuowiug in th«ttiselvea 

thmt *^hr Id ^ooii cmi^e, and that they bftve in 

H^ 1 and moi*e Midiiriu^j substance, 

Ij ioutf' vvrll conMJder Birminyhnnut ca]^- 

i conclude what all %r^. like to ffele nnlesse thpy 
bo^tirro thcmsitdvcs to shake otT the Cavalier* 
twm l]l«ti E^pttan yoke. 

ITie pcifiSiigte frc»m Viciirs's " God in ilte MomU"^ 

reUtisi^ to tliis ev^nt, (from which we have 

mlttadj quot^ in oui- narrative), h m follows : — 

*' April th<» Sth enmc ccrtjiin intflHgirnoe to Lontlan frotn 

[ Antjit»ii^*Aiti«f of thfl cruell slnughtcr of diverse of the in- 

labstmU of tJMt honeftt Town^ and tluit nbnut df^hty of 

) Uirfr direlljuj? hoiusrs were burnt down*: by that bar!>ftJous 

ka^d buU:iii-rJy Prince of Jttfhbci'f^ nnd his accursed Cii\*n* 

Bat yet withal), Uiat his filching Forcoa got little 

[ Uj tbifir m inhnrnflno barbarity : for, Cod foutrht for those 

! inhabitnntfl, who wierc for the most part, 

profcKidtiii or trade was to make uaiU, sythcs 

[M^wii surit it^«, iron commodities; and tbit with such iron* 

•f«om OM thiry had they «o knocked the Eiirl of Ikubifjh 

^At Uw r»i»civcd hi.* deaths wound in bis furious pursuit of 

' of th<ff»i, and imm<?<iittt'dy after dyed of those his 

wiwin'ln : And with him also fns it was credibly infortned) 

tht L^ni /}urhu that uirih-tri^itor to the Common wenlth 

*>f '^ 'I in the same fight. And 

*i»i ly infonned them'« as a re- 

ul liic Lord. Thnt in the plunder- 

rhi^ Town the greatest lossy was to the 

1 ^i^ Town who inhabited among thera, 

> t'y men there, having by Gods 

rycd k convijyed .iwiiy their 

^^' ^ the Cavaliers came tothtir 

' Tewu. 

The OM Ship Inn, Camp HiD, is said to have 

lii»cn the h^ail quarUjni of Prince Rupert (luring 

I the AtUek on the town^ an*i tho last proprietor 

' »f •' pixsvious to its flemolition, published 

bU k on it8 hLstorj' and fige» coTitaining 

Bi4ay curioBfl nnd iptrrefttin;^ detaOs, which were 

Willi w rring, \MiGther this house waa 

^Prin*^ .,.,i ,i.d Head Quarters" or not» there 

mn bo no doubt it is a very old one, and was 

pfobftUly a toad^ide inn three centuries ago, It 

— f Tmtdy known as **The Anchor/* 

There 13 yet another pamphlet relating to tho 
civil war troubles in the viciiuty of Birmingham 
wlxich we do not remember to have seen reprinted 
or referred to in any previous history of the town. 
It woiJd seem to refer to the period at which the 
p^?oplc of Birniinghani harassed the royalist troops, 
and seized the king's carriages, hut we cannot find 
any mention elsewhere of such a battle near Bir- 
mingliaTu. The copy of the tract from which we 
have taken our roprint b in tho valuable collec- 
tion of Warwickshire books, prints, and MSS, 
formed by the hite Mr. Staunton, of Longbridge, 
Warwickshire, now in the Birmingham I?eferenco 
Library. It is not improlmble that this exceed- 
ingly rare littie pamphlet of eight pages is unique. 






Ikttell fought by the Lonl Willowjhhif 

of Pnrhnm with 800, Horse and Foot who 

were going to the L. Oenerall, against Prince 

Uiihvtt with 9. Troops of Horse, nnd 300. 

Foot, nccr Bruuiegum in Warwickt^ 

shiret October the 17. 

iMcliiring also the manner of the L Wif- 

Joutjhbits obtftinin(< the Victory» killing nbont 

60. ofthoCavaieevs, and taking 20. prisoners, 

wUk the Imsft of 20, inen. 

Sent in a Letter from Hu ExcelUncu to the 

Hou4e of C&mmms^ and read in thu mul 

House, October 18. 

6y i«tai ?lK»f». 

tUA \n tft» Maaat ; or. fSttglosd** ttemfvtnbmnecf . 
U)iiiU>ii, lux. p, 390. 

Fiintcd for Rkfmrd fFest October 20, 


V I C T K I E 


By Ihi^ Lord JViJlourjhhtj of Purham^ «- 

gainst Prince Rujieit witliin three mik-s of 

Bromegimi, October 18, 

HIh Majesty having divided hia Army into two jmrta, 
the on« he hntb committed to the Commttnd of 
Prince liupfrt, E. of Dt:rht/^ Eit'era^ Lhulutt/, and Lord 
Onindi4(rHf by which di vision some nd vantage arisetb to 
the Lorii Generalls Army, for that Prine* Robert with HIa 
Forces cannot now rome upon an}^ occudiou to joyn with 
His Majesty His Eatcellencie with Hia Anny being gotten 
between them. 

That Pnnce Ihbert \% marched with HU Anny towanb 



[Binnlng^iam in ^wulticiL 

It is also informed by divers Letters from Brximeginn, 
that the Lord Willouffhhy of Parham with about 800. 
horse and foot in his march towards the Lord Generall, 
met Pirinee Robert with 8. Troops of horse and about 300. 
Foot, two or tliree miles trom Bruimgum, and gave him 
battle which was very fierce and cruell on either side, but 
at length the Princes sonldiers retreated, and fled, tliere 
being slain of the Malignants about 50. and 20. taken 
prisoners, and of the I^ord JFillotighbies side about 17. 
The figlit being ended, tlie L. IFiUoughhi'i with his Forces 
marclied forwnrd to his Kxcellencie, with whom he hath 
now joyncd himself. 

lIl>on Friday last it was again reported to the E. of 
EsseXy that his Maj. would give him battle the next day, 
but the Extraordinary Rain tliat fell those two dais pre- 
vented the meeting of the Armies. 

It is also conceived that His Majesty would not delay 
the meeting with His Lordship so lon^, but that he hatli 
aljout 24. pieces of Ordnance, that he daily expects daily 
to be brought to His Anny from LndJow^ Cheskr^ New- 
castle^ and some otlier places, hut cannot have them as yet 
brought, but is in fear they will be stopped and seized on 
by the Parliament- forces, there being order to that pur- 
pose issued out from his Excellency. 

His Excellency hath also sent the Lord JVhartoii with 
1000. Horse and Foot to dense the County near Man- 
chesUr of the E. of Derbij, and the L. Rivers, who do 
nothing but plunder and pillage where ever they (;ome. 

The said Lords do daily indeavour to march and joyn 
with His Majesties Army, but are prevented by the said 
L. Wluirton, and his Forces, so that it is ho])ed they must 
yit'ld, or perish by the sword. 

His Excellencie hath also sent ColloncU Chohnhj, 
CoUonell Berrie, and Capt. Boston with two Hegimeuts of 
Horse and Foot, and 12. pieces of Great Ordnance to /r^/- 
vi-rhampU/ti, for the fortifying and securing that town 
against the Malignants His Majesty with His Army being 
Itetreated, and niHrched fix)ni thence againe to Shriursburtj^ 
and is intended to give battle to His Excellency on Mon- 
day next, being it is conceived constrained thereto, for 
that there is no subsistance for His Army any longer, 
having taken from the Inhabitants of these towns what 
they can, and cannot march into any other County with- 
out lighting. 

It was also signified by Letters from His Excellencie to 
the House of Commons, that His Majesty hath granted a 
Commission to divers great Papists in the County of Lan- 
caster to raise what men they can for His Majesties service 
of that Faction, and what Money, Plate, or Horse can be 
by them raised, and to send the same to His Majesty, with 
power to take perforce and seize upon the goods, mony, 
horse and Plate of any Persons whatsoever, that shall 
refuse to contribute the same to relieve his Majesties 
present necessity, as Enemies to His Majesty, and as dls- 
loyall and trayterous Subjects, which many have done 
according to the said Commission in the further parts of 
Lancashire, to the great terrour, trouble, and oppression 
of t^*e Protestants, and well affected persons in those parts 
of that County. 

That His Excellency having information of these pro- 
ceedings in Lancashire, hath sent Captain Brown with a 
Regiment of Horse and Foot, and two pieces of Ordnance 
to relievo and assist that County, and snppresse the 
Rel)ellious and Trayterous Papists and perverse Malignants 
there Adherents. 

This is the true and perfect Relation of all the Pro- 
ceedings that have hapned bince Thursday the 13. of 
October, till the 19. 1642. 

The Parliaments Resolution Concerning all those 
that refuseth to bring in tlieir Mony or 
rtMInt the Bishops in England being the chief Incendiaries 
-^ of the present great distractions in England, and hate 
imploycd their Rents and Profits toioards the main- 
tdinance of a Civill-Warre in this Kitigdotne against 
the Parliament : The Profits and Revenews belonging 
to their scverall Bishopricks shall be from henceforth 
seijitestred, to be employed for the publike good ami safely 
of the Kingdma. 

That all such as ?Mve refused to lend Money, Horse, or 
Plate, (being able) upon the Propositions, for the service of 
the King and Parliament, in this time of great txtremitie, 
shall be disarmed; That thereby there may be a timely 
prevention, that they may not use their Armes to the pre- 
judice of the Parliament, and the whole Kingdoms 




Tlie PhiKwe in Biriuingham-Iy>M Mm-auIay'H .l..s«riptiun of BirmiuKlmm-" BrumruaKem OnMiU"-The " re«U)ratloii - of St MarUn'»- 
The Gun trade— Biruiiiighain ffuuH supplierl to the Oovenimeut-The Leather traUe-Biriiungham trades in transition— Binnlimham 
charity— Churchea and aeuts in the seventeenth century. 

From the ashes of the fires kindled by Prince 
Kupert in 1643, Eimiingham seenis to have 
steadily risen into prosperity as a nuinufrtctiuing 

community whoso wares rendered hep famous 
throughout the kingdom. 

liut in the Black Year 1665, when the Qxeat 



[Birmingham in Truudtioo. 

But still the town js^ew and flourished. "Bir- 
mingham/* says Lord Macaiilay, " had not been 
thought of sufficient importance to njtum a 
member to Oliver's Parliament. Yet the manu- 
facturers of Birmingham were already a busy and 
thriving race. They boasted that their hardware 
was highly esteemed, not indeed as now, at Pekin 
and Lima, at Bokhara and Timbuctoo, but in 
London, and even as far off as Ireland. They 
had acquired a less honourable name as coiners 
of bad money. In allusion to their spurious 
groats, some Tory wit had fixed on demagogues, 
who hypocritically affected zeal against Popery, 
the nickname of Birminghams. Yet in 1685 the 
population, which is now [1848] little less than 
two hundred thousand, did not amount to four 
thousand. Birmingham buttons were just begin- 
ning to be known : of Birmingham gims nobody 
had yet heard ; and the place whence, two genera- 
tions later, the magnificent editions of Baskerville 
went forth to astonish all the librarians of Euioi)e, 
did not contain a single regular shop where a 
Bible or an almanack could be bought. On 
market days a bookseller named Michael Johnson, 
the father of the great Samuel Johnson, came 
over from Lichfield, and opened a stall for a few 
hours. This supply was long found equal to 
the demand." 

The unenviable notoriety of Birmingham in 
the matter of base coinage, together with the 
part taken by our townsmen in the civil war, 
caused the town to become the butt of every court 
wit, and her name the synonym for every species 
of meanness and villany. Dryden says, in one 
of his prefaces, " The longest chapti^r in Deuter- 
onomy has not curaos enough for an Anti-Bro- 
mingham." In another place we read respecting 
Shaftesbury's medal, (1G82), 
•* 'Twas coined by stealth, like groats at Birmingham." 

Tom Brown refers to the same practice in his 
"Reasons for Mr. Bayes," [i.e. Dryden,] changing 
his Eeligion: "I coined heroes as fast as Bir- 
mingham groats,^' Tl^e aflfected zeal for the 
Protestant leligion on the part of the country 

party led to their being nicknamed Birmingham 
Profestcuifs, In fact, the Whigs generally came 
in for the name of the midland hardware village, 
and " Whig and Birmingham," " Birminghams 
royal," " Birmingham pretences," and other 
uncomplimentary allusions of the same character 
are to be found scattered through many of the 
songs and other poetical emanations from Grub 
Street during the reign of James IL 

But in all the base products of our town 
at that period, surely no worse example of 
"Brummagem" taste and skill was perpetrated 
than that of which the fine old church of St.* 
Martin was the victim. We quoted, in our first 
chapter, a description of this noble fabric as it 
must have appeared when first completed ; of its 
grace of form and wealth of colour ; " a church," 
as Mr. Bunco tndy says, "not unworthy of a 
town destined to become one of the greatest 
communities in the kingdom." It woidd appear, 
however, according to Hutton, that the stone 
, used in the buildmg of the church was of a soft^ 
j friable nature, and, he says, "the rough blasts 
! of nine hundred years p] had made inroads into 
the fabric." The churcliwardens appear to have 
had no other idea of preserving the church than 
by entombing it in a hideoiis case of brick, which 
ex([uisite piece of workmanship was performed in 
the year 1G90, under the direction of Thomas 
Gisbume and Edward Est, the churchwardens 
of that year. "They first dressed the church 
in brick, — tower, nave and chancel ; the spire 
most likely would have been cased likewise, if 
the bricks could have conveniently been carried 
up."* " The whole fabric," says the writer just 
quoted, "was there buried in an ugly tomb, 
literally bricked up as if like unhappy Constance 
in * ^Nlarmion ' it had committed an inexpiable 
sin, and had received sentence of living deatL^t 
This supremely ugly structure remained, a disgiace 
to the town of which it was the " mother church," 
until 1872. Hutton's admiration of this piece of 

* J. T. BuvcE : History of Old St Huti&'i, p. 19. 

h:»ni in IVaitiiitiiiii.l 


fuurni utu-mnc*? in a Mn^k' sentence ; '* th*i 
iinU the workmaasluiv*' lie says, **are 
;edlefit 1**^^— ** eommeudiition/* sayji Mr. Bonoa, 
not unlike that of an iiiaTtiatic (Umrch dignitary 
whn, tK^tng invite*] to admire a newly finished 
1^ piece of seulptiire, complimented the carver by 
HiAjtiig that it was 'very largw.*" The further 
^MM||)aJiitit>t]S which the building underwent 
^^^tioiis iu its complete demoliiion in 1872 
will Ik^ noticed from time to time iu their 
'^'ical &eqnence. The fir«t, whicli we 
.i-^t tlescribed^ left the spire uuinjuied ', 
Ibe porch was aUo left^ and the clerestory might 
be fteeo^ above the balustrade with which 
luife roof was finished. 
VTMJi*, huwever, liiruiipglmm gainetl ou nn- 
iirtalila reptitation abmnd far luise coinage, 
end pejpetmted at homo an example of bane 
;biteelurQ almost unequalled, slxe still worked 
A Mitom honuat munner too ; — base groivts did 
lol form the staple article of manufacture, and 
n^pute in which such goods were held did 
altogether obecui^ tlie reputatiun »lm had 
Mined for skilful workmau^hip of a more legiti- 
«»!» V t+ijr. ^Uextmder Misaen says in bis 
Tifcv IGDO), that he saw at Milan **fine 

of Rock Crystal, Swords, Ht^ads fur 
inuff Boxes, and other fine works of 
tht^i/ can lit hud chmiHu* and Mter 
Birmimjlmm . '* And if 11 utton may be ci-edited, 
lirmingliam enjoyed some little reputation even 
Cotirt, in the n^jgn of \Villi;im the Third. 
X muoiinzl^ he say a, waiv once lamenting ** That 
w«re not maiiufaetnrDd in Ids dominions, but 
1^ ' ' ' d lo procure them f rum Holland 
:> and greater dilficulty." One 
Uie iiiieJnbefs for Wtirivickshire [8ir Richard 
rv ing present, told the King "That 

1 [in Warwickshire, and that bethought 

i , ; . ; ! J 11 Li could iins wnr his majesty *s wishes, " 
king wiifl plca&ed with the remark, and the 
to Birmingham, Upon a[tplication 
Dig bet h, whuae name I forget, the 
piSlim wiu executed with precision, which, when 

pr*36euted to the ro^ al board, gave eutire satifif ac- 
tion.*** But, from the corretspoudence on this 
subject first published in the admirable volume of 
reports on local products and resources, collected 
h^ the Local Industries Committee of the British 
Assoc iation^ in 1865, and edited by Mr. Samuel 
Timminsjt it appears that the local gun trade was 
not introiluced untler the circiimstancea described 
by H utton, but had existed lojjg before. " The 
question," says the editor, *Svas not whether Bir* 
niingham should make guns, but whether they 
could be produced equal to the Government pattern 
sent down frum London, and at a cei*t4tiu price. *^} 
Mr, Tiramins cijncludcs therefore that not only the 
Bword trade but the ^^m\ trade also, had l:»cen intro- 
duced and carried on with much auccesii long before 
the Revolution fn 1088. 

The papers to which we have referred, being 
the lirst in which the gun trade of Birmingham 
is mentioned, will probably interest many of 
our readers, and we therefore, with the per- 
mission of the editor, reprint them here. 

The first is a letter addressed by tbe War 

Departnieut to Sir Richard Xewdigate, and is as 

follows : — 

For their Ma*? Service 

To Sf Richard Kewdigat© 

Htt Ajbury 

These — — - 

Parsuaut to aa order of this Board, Wee hare 
directed the aenJiug to you by the Tumworth Canyer 2 
aunpbance Mosqui^tlsof ditrenng sorts fur patteraes dcaire- 
iag yoa will plcnse To caase them to be shewed to yc 
liimuiighain Workum*fii and apon yof rctanie of their 
fthiljty and n?adiafsjt to undertake the aiiiking and ITixiag 
tlu'ta iwoordiagly. Or the making Barrelb ur Locks oaly 
Tog* ihor w*i^ the tyme a suiHcieat Quantity of BurrelLs 
can be made in to answer the Trouble and charge of send- 
ing an Officer on pnrpoAe to prove the same according to 
the Tower proofe which is the Equuli weight of powdiir to 
one of the BuUett aboe aent you And their lowest price 
either for a com pi eat Mu>sc|uett rendy fixt or ti>T n Bnrrell 

* W. HirrroN : Hbtury of Blmilu^lmm. 1781, aud laier ctliLiutm. 

t Thy Re*ojrco«, FrcwlncU, tiiiJ hidustriiil History of Biruiuii;- 

liATii RijJ th^' MiiUoiic) mirdwar^ Pistiict ; ft 8erlo$ of Hcixorti 

&Ul«l by 6^mel Tiinmltm 1660— jlrti. " The ludttft* 

trldl nutorj of EtrmUigliun/' hjr tba Editor^ pp. 207>£24 ; snd 

" Ttifi BirmlQ^hAm Gnu Trode," bf John n Ooodnavft, pp. 3S1<45V 

% ib. p, ail. 



[Blrtiiln^uuo inTlstiMtkMt 

Of a Lock distmct or togenlher us they will undertake to 
miiko them. We shiill Uiereupou am^ fuithtir direction 
to be given as shnll lie most benefidall for their Mutf 
Bcryice with a thankful I ackuowlt'dgtiit of yt great favour 
AJid trouble afforded us herein. Wu aiu 
Office of Ordne Your most humble Scrv» 

1 0«i of January, CH. Al Y DDE J.TON, 


/Note by the late Bp Roger Kfwdegate, Bart — 
\ ** Before, all the Guns for the Army were imported j 
from Germ any/' / 

" Tlie t<?rm snaphanco, used in this letter," mys 
!Mr. Goodjxtan, **ifi thus explained ]*y Grose in his 
Treatise on Ancient Armoiir and AV capons, IJe 
states that it is derived irom the troojjs who mude 
use of it» I'bese were a set of marauders, whom 
the Dutch termed ^S nap-bans' or poultry stealers* 
The use of the match-lock exposed them, when on 
their marauding expeditions, to this iiicoiive- 
iiience, thai the light from the hiiming match 
pointed out their position. They were uimhle to 
provide themselvet* with wheeLhx^k guns on 
accoimt of their expense. In this dilemma tht^y 
formed the sjiaphunee from a study of the wheel- 
locL A flat piece of steel, furrowed in imitation 
of the wdiecl, >vas placed on a steel post, which 
was screwed beyuiid tbj^ pan, and made moveiilde. 
Tlio furrowed piece being brought to stand over 
it, on pulling the trigger, the ihnt wliicli was sub- 
stituted for the pyrites in the cock, struck against 
it, lUid the spark was produced. The giuis ordered 
from the Binningham makers, although rotainiimg 
the name, were of course an improvement on the 
onginal snaphance^ and were no doubt a near 
approach to the flint lock of modern times."* 

A trial order was given, as the result of this 

example of the skill of Bimiingham w^orkmen, in 

Slarch, 1692, followed by a further order, which 

we tianscribe at full length : — 

Cinttrattrb and agreed this fifth day of Jammry Aimo 

Dui 1693^ and in the fifth year of the Reignc of our 

Soveraigut? Lurd and Lady King William and Queene 

Marye by the Grace of God of England, Scotland, 

France, and Ireland, Defenders of the faith &c. By 

virtue of an order of the Eight Uont»lo Henry Lord 

YiiooFimt Sidiiey Master Gen^l of their Mati«« OrdnftDoe 

* MiiUaxui fiflrdwira Dicthct, p. 4m. 

and the Ikiard 24tl» Novem Last Between th© II out** 

the principal Officers of the same on their Ma*f< 

bi<halfe of the one part and William Bounn\ 

Jloorc, John West, Rich*? Wcaton and Jacob Attst 

of Birmingham in the County of Warwick 

Smithi'sof the j>art as folk, viz. — 

f m^yrtmiff, The said William Bourne, Tho, Mo 

John West, Bich^* Weston and Jacob Au»tin do He 

aevemJly Covenant and rtgr«c to and w**' the said princip 

Officers of their Matk'» Ordnance on their Itehalfc olj 

selves and the rest of the Gun-makers of Birmingh 

they Mhall and will make and provide for their ! 

Service two hundred Snaphanct^ ;Mn.'*tta€ta every JToa 

for the spare of one Yeare from the Exvi™ti"»i ^f th 

luM Contract Bearing Date the six anil daf 

Mart'h lUt»2, To be three foot ten i) 

WaUnutt*treo and Ash Stocks. And thiit one hall of i 

said Muaqueta shall have flatt locks engraven, and 

other half Round Locks and that all of them shall 

brass pipes cast and brass heel plates and oil the tfto 

varnished, and to have six GikkI thrid* in the Bn 

screws, and that all the said Gun Stocks Bhtill be n 

well and Substantiall and none of thera Glewc<L 

^nb aUo that the ludd Muuqnct Bamdlfi shall 
Compleatly filt-d hefore they are proved and thnt th 
slitiU be proved at IJirmingham iicconling to this Tom 
prrnife and a fitt person (who shall be Impowercd by I 
Office) shall insyjcct the same and marke theni w** 
Oflice Marke, and (when finished) to survey Ujem, 
thnt powder and bullets shall he provid- ' * 
nt the Charge of this Office for the proofs - 

^nb thf ssit prindpall officers of their MjiI';'^ « 
(for and on the Mati*-* behalfe) dm *igrec wtk 
William Bonme, Thomas Moore, John Weet* \ 
Weston, and Jacob Austin in l>ehalfe of lhftm«fc 
the rest of the Gun Makers of Bimiin 
shall be paid for the said Arroes in i- 
viz., for every one hundred eevenill ^Vnuci aft^ 
Httte of seavcnteene shilling per piece Tva<ly tnon«y ] 
way of debenture w^ in one Meek after tli« dcUf 
thereof into thf ir Matip* stores in the tower of Lon 
Any other pluce within this kingdome, as th»» Bo 
order and direct, and also that they shall be 
allowed three shillings for the carriage of every 
hundred weight from Birmingliam to tlie tower and 1 
proportionally to any other place And that the moa 
shall be paid to them without any charge or trouble | 
they shall direct and Returne the same firom time to 
to BuTiiiiigbam. 

In Siliinras whereof the snid {arties to these pn 
Interchangeably have set their liands and «eals tho t 
and year first above written 

Sealed and delivered 


in the presence of JO . CHARLTON 


lb 'nrmainUou. 



ibe otlit-r early tiiidcii fur which liir- 

mi become noted was that of the 

of leather ** It may seem singular 

1 eye^," stays Hutton, **to view this 

light of one vadt Uui-yai^d, Though 

appoamnce u{ that necessary article 

yoi Birmingham was once a famous 

k*4ither< I)iglH?lh nut only /ihoutided 

iiexl ceiitm-y was almost furgutten, save for the 
annual election of two officers called '* leather- 
sealers," whose duty it had been in former days 
to mark the vendible hide?, but had then, says 
our c^uaint historian, ** no duty but that of taking 
an elegant dinner." WTien Huttou published his 
History, in 1781, shops had been erected upon 
th(- tnn-vata, the Leather hall had gone to deatruC' 

'., ''^1*, J 

HritAlFiiKI* imi SK. (ii** J«iJ* ^''fJ 

bul large niunhers of hule^r arrivetl 
[ etle, where the whole coimtry found 
I When the weather woulil allow, they 
columns in the High-street, and 
f depomted in the leather Htdl, at 
of Kew-^treot, appropriated for their 

io period at which we have now arrived 
Yf — the close of the seventeenth cen- 
KinMle hud dudtncd, and early in tiie 

tiou, and tlie town was reduc* d, he say?, to one 
solitary tanner. 

This was, in faet, the real transition period in 
our l<x!al history. Our trades, as well as the ap- 
pcarance of the town, (to which we shall refer 
more particularly in our next chapter,) underwent 
a great change during the closing years of the 
sevontoenth century. 

"Though she had before held a considerable 
degi^e of eminence," b«ys ilutton, **yet at this 



[Birmingham in TrantiUoo. 

period, the curious arts Lcgan to take root, and 
were cultivated by the hand of genius. Building 
leases, also, began to take effect, extension fol- 
lowed, and numbers of people crowded upon each 
other, as into a Paradise. . . . But . . . 
we have only seen her in infancy. (Comparatively 
small in her size, homely in her person, and coarse 
in her dress. Her ornaments, wholly of iron, from 
her own forge. 

" But now, her growths will be amazing ; lier 
expansion rapid, perhaps not to be i)aralleled in 
history. We shall see lier rise in all the beauty 
of youth, of grace, of elegance, and attract the 
notice of the commercial world. Slio will also 
add to her iron ornaments, the lustre of every 
metal that the whole earth can produce, with all 
their illustrious race of compounds, heightened 
by fancy, and garnished with jewels. She will 
draw from the fossil, and the vegetable kingdoms; 
press the ocean for sliell, skin, and cond. She 
will also tax the animal, for horn, bone, and 
ivory, and she will docomte the whole with the 
touches of her pencil." 

The change which thiis took place in our trades 
would have a marked effect both iipon the town 
and its inhabitants. From being merely smiths 
and workers of the coarser kind they beciame 
skilled and cunning artiiicei"S, with some degree 
of artistic taste, and tliis would doubtless liavo 
an effect upon the appearance of the town. They 
would be more careful as to tlieir own houses, and 
as they would earn considerably higher wages 
than their fathers who worked in coarser materials, 
they would be able to bestow more expense in 
making their homes comfortable. Thus the 
greater prosperity of the people would be i-efiected 
in the improved appearance of the town ; and so 
began the new era, the modei-n, as distinguished 
from the aiicimt history of Birmingham. 

" During the seventeenth and eighteenth 
centuries," says Mr. Timmins, "the progress 
of Birmingham manufactures was simply mar- 
vellous. Our town seemed to have the power 
of attractiug within its boundaries artisans of 

every tmde and every degree of skilL Although 
not situated on any of the great highways of the 
land, it was near enough to be easily accessible. 
It awarded almost perfect freedom to all who 
chose to come. Dissenters and Quakers and 
hei'etics of all sorts were welcomed and undis- 
turbed, so far as their religious observances were 
concerned. No trades unions, no trade gilds, no 
companies existed, and every man was free to 
come and go, to found or to follow or to leave a 
trade just as he chose. The system of apprentice- 
ship was only partially known, and Birmingham 
became emphatically the town of 'free tiade^' 
whei'e practically no restrictions, commercial or 
municipal, were known. Coal and iron were 
easily obtainable from the growing mines and 
iron works of Staffordshire, and every facility 
was afforded by such proximities, and by the 
numerous water mills and the central position 
of the town, for the rapid extension of the 
hardware trades." 

In their pix>sperity the i^eople of Binningliam 
do not seem to have been deaf to the cries for 
help which came to them from their sufieriug 
brethren in various i>arts of the country. From 
a ver}^ curious manuscript book in two volomes, 
described as "The Town Book," discovered in 
St Martin's Chmch during the process of demoli- 
tion, Mr. Bunce, in his history of that churoh, 
makes a number of exceedingly interesting ex- 
tmcts, and among those of the earliest period 
(from 1676 to the close of the seventeenth cen- . 
tury) are numerous memoranda of various sums 
collected for charitable and other purposes. Under 
date June 6, 1679, is an entry of X2. 18s., "col- 
lected for a fier at Wcedon Northampton Sheer 
and for Lorgj'on in the South of Wilts Sheer ;" 
on the 2nd of May, 1680, XL 6a 6d. was 
collected "for Sufferers by a ffier at Wolston," 
and on the 30th of the same month a like sum, 
all but one penny, was collected "for Sufferers 
by ffyro at Edglill in ths county of Salop." 
Fires would seem to have been pretty numerous 
at that time, and perhaps the warm hearts which 

I loTlmiicition.I 



Insat vitUin the stunly fratnes of the artiznns of 
Ihu hardware village had become widely known, 
for th«y do not appiear ever to have bet^n appealed 
Id in vain, for dimng 1682-3 there are entiies of 
KBUB collected for the relief nf ** sufferers by ffier" 
Al *^ Luamington Priors," Snitterfieldj Eiishara, 
In ChtfoTv|fihii% Stoats by Clnre, (Suffolk), " Pres- 
iCsudeer in County of Sonttanptn/' CoUump- 
, (D^Ton), Bradueck, (Devon), Chaimtll IJow, 
WMtmiiiAtejr, Bafi&ingboume, and several other 
toimi« iu wUieli^ alLhongh fire is not named, this 
MTU* pfcibttbly the calamity from wliich the in- 
hAbitAuU fluflVrcd* Again in April, 1684, a 
^Ikction was made "for poore diatressed fianiylys 
of the Towne of Alrewors who lost ye houses & 
efitnted by fire;" an«l tliroughoiit the century 
Mber siciiUar entries occur. ** A fellow-feeling 
nuikce one woiidrouu kind ; " and jx^rhaps the 
tcttKin for tbia fpeciid commiseration felt hy om' 
UtwnxmiM for all mitferers by fire may lie found 
ill tbo fact tiiat they hail nut yet forgotten their 
wris mflerin^tt wlien Prince l^upert manifested 
bin liciming Love for England, in Birniinghani's 

Fmm the charity of our forefathers to their 
irligion 18 on msy and natural transition, and we 
ii»y therefore, perhaps, appropriately pause here 
m our narrative to take a dun^ey uf tlie churches 
and 2»ectB, as they exiKted in tlie town during the 
laUi*r half of tb*5 seventeenth eentiir>'. Accord- 
to^ to Huttiin, the spiritual needs of the wor- 
»liip[Nn« at St. Martin's were iU-provided for 
dtmng Ibe pint<*ctorate of Oliver t'romwelL 
; ^Ona Samiid Slater, a broketiHlowu apnthccarA% 
kaWig,'^ be saya, ** been uueuccessful in curing 
tl*e body, rei^otved to attempt curing the soul. 
He llnerefore, to rcpnir his misfortunea, asaumed 
tbii ckiieal clinracter. and ca«t an eye on the 
nxlory »»f St. Martinis; but he bad many 
poirerfol oppouentfl ; among others were Jennena, 
an tfimataster, posdeSBor of Aaton furnace; 
HataUbroki), another weallhy inhabitant; and 
8cr XhoQiaa Holte. However, be, witli diOi- 
eollji tiittmphed over bis enoiuitas, stepped into 

tlie pulpit, and hold the rectory till the Resto- 

He seems to have carried his irreverence into 
the pulpit with him, if Hutton ia to be credited, 
— though the somewhat clumsy pleasantry sounds 
not a little like Hutton's own, ^remarking, in 
his first sermon that ** the Lord had carried bim 
through many troubles ; for he had passed like 
kSliedrach, [dc\] Mesehaeh, and Abednego, through 
the fiery furnace. And as the Lord had enabled 
the Children of It*rael to pass over the Ived Sea, so 
he had assisted him in passiug over the Snutll- 
brooh% and to overcome the strong ffolts of sin 
an<l Satan/'t 

" At the restoration," continues Hutton, " sus- 
pecting the approach of the proper ofllicers, to 
expel him from the parsonge house, he crept into 
a hiding-place, under the stairs ; hut^ being dis- 
covered, was drawn out by foi-ce, and the place 
ever after bore the name of Slater' d Hole." 

In 1665 the living was conferred npon John 
Rihind, Archdeacon of Coventry ; of whose 
cliaracter the followijig dcscriidiou is given by 
his son : — ** He was very constant in his medi- 
tations and devotions, both public and private, 
which he delivered with such plainness and sim- 
plicity' of speech and deportment, that there was 
not the k-ast appearance of any unnatural and 
forced llights and enthusiastic ra]ttures. There 
was such a strict and universal holiness in his 
life and conversation, that he is now called in 
Birmingham ' that holy man.' He was so very 
afiUl.le and humble that he never passed by any 
one without some particular regard and friendly 
salutation. Ho was such a lover of j^eace that 
he labored much for it ; and when he coidd not 
persuade those that were at variance to abate 
anything of the height of their demands, be 
many times deposited the money out of his own 
pocket that lie might make one of two contending 
parties. He was so chariUible that he carried 
about a poor-box with him, and never reckoned 
himself poor but when that was empty ; and it 
* nntUMi. »lxth Mlittooi pp. SAM. i i\>, |i IM. 



roimringtimn in lkan»tM<m« 

wad not a singlt* uburity Ut» gtivu tliem, liecatise 
be not only fL*cl ibeir bodies, but tbeir souls ; for 
when he gave tbem a dole of brca«l in the chiirchi 
be eolled them togetber, and tben framed a dLs- 
course t^ them, parti rulnrly suited to their cir- 
cumstauccs. Iiidcn'd bis t^xbortations on tbeso 
occasions were eo excellent and ediljing, that 
several of the chief inhabitants came to bear 
them, and went away, as well satisfied with 
tba^ie, i\a the poor with the bread." He died 
at Binuiiigbam in 1672, and was buried in St. 
5rartin*3, where a monument w*as placed to bis 
memory, with a Latin inscription, which is tlius 
translated by Colvile, in hm "Wortbiea of 
Warwickshire " : — 

** Sacrcfl to the ineinorT of John Rjland (as wtll u to bl« 4e«rMt 
wife Cledy» ami only diiti|;htei-, MbtIa) Areh'fwipon of Coveiitiy, 
and cniniRtcr of tht" itarisli, lui well u luiilglifjit ortiiimcnt ; 
wbo corrected unlwelier and funatietHii) and till the evlla 
of tbU depraved ogv, not xo niucli by liiM writinj^a nud «erra«ii8, 
alOiougb witb spirit Id tli<^^e too, na by the eonataut and 
tuihending course cif au uubliLtu cable life. 
Having in youth, completed lui ^xrmplary pttpilii;g« At 
Kagdalen Collect-, Oxford, bo wm ^^icodily clcrettHl a Fidlow 
of thai Society, aihi, after a life s]i<!iit in varioa.* i<lau(»« 
and regioaa, aufreriog from the ingratitude uf the tluici, 
liero be Mttled at Imit, atict bei^ be d1e<l in tlic '»3r(i yesr 
Of bti Age— March ard, iu tbo ye«r of t>ur Lorri 16T2.*' 

" A succeeding rector, William Daggett," says 
Hutton, ** i& said to have uudei-stOLxl the art of 
boxing, better than that of preaching : his clerk 
often felt the weightier argument of hia baud. 
Meeting a Quaker, whose profession, then in 
infitney, did not stand liigh in esteem, he offered 
Bome insults, which the other resenting, told 
him, * If be was not protected by bis clutb, br 
wouhJ make him repent the indignity,* Daggett 
immedmtely stripjied, 'There, now I have thrown 
off my prot^ection/ — They fought ; hut the 
spiritual bruiser proved too bard for the injured 

From a Tcrner of the Hectory, written by thii^ 
Mr, iJaggott, Hutkm estimates the value of tbo 
living at that time at about £90 per imnunL 

Iu 1662, the Act of Uniformity was passed, 
and, as Binuiiigbam, not being a corpomte town, 
vvus exempt from the operation of the •* Five Milo 
Act," (which probihited nonconforming ministers 
fiH)m coming within five miles of any corporate 

town, or of the place wlu^re tb»y bad exep 
their ministry,) it became a place of refuge i4 
many of those ^brave men who preferred to aacri- 
fice tbeir livings rather than do violence to ■ 
dictates of their conscience, and here they wo 
shipped God, in secret, in the manner which 
accorded with their own convictions, fmra bota 
to house, often in danger of persw?cution and in 
prisonment, yet braving all perd and danger Id 
the cause of religious freedom. In 1672, an 
dulgence was grantetl, aud th** fii-st room Jicen^ 
for public worship, the preacher b«?i«g an ejecti 
minister of Cheshire, Samuel Fi»her, for 
pastor of niomtondn'tbe-Moor, in that countj 
In 1689, the Act of Toleration was passc<.l, wbie 
revoked the penalties against attending ** eonvtn- 
tides," and for the first time permitted Pi-otesta 
Dissentei-s to worship God iiccording to their 0¥ 
consf"ience, and made it penal for anyone tu eiit< 
a meeting bouse for the pui-poso of molefding i 
worshippers; and immedititely ;iftor the passin 
of this act the Dissenters of Birmingham built f^ 
themselves a Meetiug House, — ^the fir&t Diasentia 


Chapel erected in Blnuingluim, — on the site 
the place of worship which still bears the tiaizie i 
*' the Ohl Meeting House," nt the littek of Wd 

I la T^vuitionO 




oeiter Street, the firat Tniniskr being the Rev. W. 
1W|0D» who had previously officiated in the 
Ikeiised room since the year 1686. Throe years 
after tht* building of the first meeting house, the 
lilQ&ber of nonconfonnists in the town had so in- 
rrviWNl Uiat a aornnd society was funned, and 
motlicr meeting houae opened in Digbeth, in 
1692, irith a Mr. Sdlitoe as minister. Of the iVm- 
tttTbanc4» of whk'h these two places of worship 
have been the scene^ we shall have to speak in 
future chnpters^ as also of the eminent <livinoa 
who have from time to time ministered therein. 
Sittiice here lo say that thia second church has 
laijoyiM! the ministrations of Joseph Priestley, of 
John Kentish, and Joshua Toulmin, and of many 
nthiT eminent, leametL, and devoted pjistors*, i>f 
whom we shall roiikc mention hereafter. 

Anions others who benefited by the Act of 
Toleration^ beside the ejected ministera of 1662, 
W&P^ the members of the newly-formed " Society 
of Friendi^/* commonly cjdled Q^iakers. The 
r«r^"-^* *"^- 'rd of tho oxistom-c of this society in 
r.- a, according to Button, is in 1682, but 

our hiatorian is of opinion that they had ej^isted 
aa a society here for some years previous tu that 
flaia They proluibly met from huuse to house 
during the seventeenth and the earlier part of the 
fdg' i'Dlury. 

]„ :.. uan Catholics had a place of worship 
near Iba preiK^nt church of St. Eartholomew, aa 
ailill tiidi^tated by the name of Masshouse Lane, 
Fr^" *^ ' 'f*ry inlfresting and Inist worthy Guide 
to . lam,* compiled by Mr. William Bates, 

%A>t WW temn that the first atone of this building 
Wi ' * * ' Ikothi^r Lw, of St. Mary Magdalen, 
tiJi Iph, of the Holy Order of St, Francis, 

on tilt 23rd of Iklarch, 1687 ; and the church was 
aqimscrlUhI ou the 4th of September, 1688, by 

* A ririfiirtuii OoiJe to fi^mtinghiuii i iHng ii (.k»tiuis«p Mk«torii^«l 
J(mUU M\eu mud ^n, iMt^. ]>. hit. 

Bishop GifTard of Mandara, a favom'ite of James 
II. The church was dedicated to St. Marie Mag- 
dalen, and contained three altars : the high altar, 
in honour of God and St. Marie Magdalen ; the 
north altar, in honour of Goil and the Blessed 
Lady ; and the south, in honour of God and the 
Holy Father St. Francis. A convent was also 
erected adjoining the north-west corner of the 
church; and the entire coat of the buildings 
(mnountmg to £1,281, 2a, 5d.) was raised by 
subscriptions and donations. James IL gave 
125 tons of timber from Need wood Forest; Sir 
John Gage gave timber valued at jG140 ; Mrs. 
Ajin Gregg gave J£250 j and the Dowager Queen 
Catherine gave £10, 15s. 

But t3ie.^e costly builtlinga were not destined 
to remain long- The storm which burst forth 
ngainst the King and the Catholics in 10B8 — the 
year in which the Binuingham Church and Con- 
vent were erected — was felt hero as elsewhere, 
and on the 26th of November, little more than 
two months after the consecration, the church and 
part of the convent was defaced, and the interior 
burnt, to the value of j£400, by the orders of 
Lord Delamere. Seven days later, "the rude 
luuids of irreligion'^ (as Hutton terms them) 
finiiihtHl the work of destniction, ceasing only 
when tlioy had destroyed the very foundationa 
of the building. Subse^|uently the Eoman 
Catliolics erected a small chapel Fit Edgbaston, 
which, after its disuse by that body, still 
retained the name of the Mwis-houm. 

There wore, therefore, before the close of thu 
scventoeth century, no less than six " churches " 
or religious societies in Birmingham, (without 
counting any of the suburban eliu relies belonging 
to the Establishment,) viz.: St. Martin's, St, 
John's Chapid, Deritend, the first Pi-e^byterian 
Cliurch, on the western side of St. Martin's, and 
the second on the south eastern side, the Quakei*, 
and the l?oman Catholics, 


OLD AND NEW BIRMINGHAM. [AppeM«iioeoftheiv>ini-ie».im 



Btrmingham in 1(»0— Number of stweto— The Old Ship [nn— Stratford House— Deritend and Dlgbeth^St. Martin's Church— The Maxkat 
Cross— The High Town— New Street— The Beast Market— Bull Street— The Welsh End— The Old Cross— fit. Martin's Rectoiy— The 
Moat- Alterations and AddiUons between 1660 and 1700— Early viaiU of " the stroUeis." 

HuTTON, in his History, quotes from an anony- 
mous author who wrote in 1743, an ohservation 
to the effect that " Binningham, at the Restora- 
tion, probably consisted only of three streets." Our 
historian is, however, of opinion that it consisted 
probably of fifteen, which he enumerates, and 
that there were at that time about nine hundred 
houses. It may be, however, that the earlier writer 
considered Deritend.and Bordesley, Digbeth, Well 
Street, the Com Market and Shambles, as one street, 
High Street and Spicer (Spiceal) Street as the 
second, and Edgbaston Street, St. Martin's Lane, 
and Park Street as the third ;* regarding the few 
houses on the various roads out of the town, and 
the short oflf-shoots on either side of those three 
thoroughfares, as not worthy to be designated 
streets ; and if that be the case the two estimates 
will not differ very widely. Hutton^s fifteen 
streets comprised Digbeth, Moat Lane (called also 
("ourt Lane), the Com Market and Shambles, 
Spiceal Street, (sometimes called Mercer and 
sometimes Spieer Street,) Dudley Street, Bell 
Street, Philip Street, St. Martin's Lane, Edg- 
baston Street, Lee*s Lane, Park Street, (from 
Digbeth nearly to Freeman Street,) Moor Street, 
(as far as Castle Street,) Bull Street, (not so 
high as the Minories,) High Street, and Deritend 
and Bordesley. But some of these could scarcely 
have been worthy of the nume of streets so early 
as 1660. 

Probably the first house the traveller reached 
(entering the town from the same point as Leland 
did) would be the Old Ship Inn, the traditional 
head-quarters of Priince Rupert, in 1643. On 

* Set fiuisimile of Westley's map. 

the rising ground to the left, near to the position 
taken up by the townsmen in their attack on the 
Royalist forces, he would see the quaint old half- 
timbered "Stratford House," from which the 
fierce struggle on that Easter Monday afternoon 
might have been watched, not without fear, 
perhaps, of the "burning love" of the Cavalier 
Prince. Few other houses would be passed until 
he reached the "Old Crown." He then enters 
the "pretty street" called Deritend, passing St 
John's Chapel on the left ; crosses the river Rea 
by the old bridge, — with its recesses to enable 
foot-passengers to take refuge out of the way of 
any passing vehicle, — and reaches Digbeth,* 
which then commenced from the Birmingham 
side of the bridge. Deritend and Digbeth still 
together form the most picturesque street in the 
town, with their many windings, and quaint 
old half-timbered houses, — and we can form 
no better idea of the appearance of old Bir- 
mingham than by passing along this, the real 
"old town." Our traveller, proceeding up Dig- 
beth, and, after passing these picturesque old 
houses, would enter Cock Street, or Well Street, 
as the upper part of Digbeth was then called, 
(the latter name from the same circumstance as 
"Digbeth,") from which he would soon reach 
St. Martin's Church, — not yet desecrated by the 
ugly brick encasement, but much weatherworn 
and dilapidated, — and passing the eastern end 
of it, along the "Corn Cheaping," through the 
Shambles, (which occupied the place of the present 
Bull Ring,) and by the old Market Croea, he 

* Dudfi Bath,— 90 called fh>m an exceUent spring of poft tntw 
at the upper end of the itreet. 

>ii»T^wi.-iwo.i7wi OLD Amy KEW BLRMmGHAM, 


fwofUd tisedi the "High Town," the ^Mirtiun uf 
Hi^ Sirttt below the end of what was ait^r- 
wudfi GoU^d N«w Street, but which was then 
metflj the Stnnrhridge road, nntl contnined few 
btukltDgs except the old Frco School^ of timber, 
I (formctrlj the Hall of tlie Gild of the Holy Crass,) 
I aJid the Leather Hall, both of which were at the 
[ fl igh Street end. Ikyond that point tlie thorough- 

pursued by tho Earl nf Denbigh, in 1643. There 
would also be a few houses at the beginning of 
Bale End, (aa we gather from the first of the 
Civil War tracts,) the upper part of which ia 
called in We*tley*a map " Broad Street " At the 
juBtrtion of those niiads, whicli had long been 
called the ** Welsh End," the Welsh Cross was 
afterward;* built, and further along the CUileahill 



«d at ^ s=> sfi •« «f 2ft ^ 




laru (atf^coniing to Weetley's map) was called the 
Miu^ket^ and, if Hutton is right in his con- 
the traveller would find a few houses 
here and there along Bull Street at the 
«!iid of the town, although in all proba- 
iVQltx **Bun StrtHit" was not known by name, 

IWf -T [)S men-dy the road out of town to 

|Wi . [4on and Wal^l, along wliich the 

[mroEiMi towmnmn. undor Captuin Greaves, wor© 

road, at tlie point at which the Btalfonl road (after- 
words called **The Butts,'* or "Stafford Street,") 
branched off, was an older cross of the simplest 
form : a plain stone pillar with short cross-piec^, 
resting on a rude pedestaL We now (accompanying 
our aeventeenth-eentury traveller on his itinerary 
through the town) retrace our steps as far a« the 
JMarket Cross, passing by the western end of 
St. Martin's this time, down Mercer ur Spicer 


OLD AND NEW BIRMINGHAM. [AppearMiceoftheTowii-ie».1700. 

JSti-eet. It was originally called Mercer Street, 
from the number of mercers' shops; and as the 
members of that trade dealt also in grocery, it 
was promiscuously called Spicer Street, 
which afterwards became corrupted into 
Spiceal Street Turning to the right, 
THEOL^^Ross aloug Edgbastou Street, our traveller 
plaZmi.' would speedily find himself on the wes- 
tern outskirts of the town, one of the last houses 
probably being St. Martin's Rectory, an ancient 
half-timbered house, surrounded by a moat, plea- 
santly situated opposite the end of the road now 
called Dudley Street. If our itinerant retraced his 
steps, and passed down St. Martin's Lane, on the 
south side of the church, he woidd, by turning to 
the right, down Moat or Court Lane, immediately 
come to the moat surrounding the ancient mano- 
rial residence of the Lords of Birmingham, and 
would thus have completed his survey of the town. 
If the traveller, whom we have imagined 
taking a survey of the town immediately after 
the restoration, had retmned at the close of the 
century, he would have found considerable 
changes in its appearance and extent. St. Mar- 
tin's Church, in its ugly red brick casing, newly 
finished, woidd strike him as being anything but 
an improvement upon the gi-ey crumbling walls of 
the fine old church of thirty or forty years ago ; 
nor would the two meeting houses of the most 
unpretending order, of architecture which had 
arisen since his last visit compensate him for the 
loss of the old church. He would find at least 
seven new streets, and — if Hutton's calculation is 
right as to the number of houses at the restoration 
— nearly three times as many houses. Since 
he last saw this hive of busy workere, their 
number had increased threefold; there were, in 
the year 1700, upwards of fifteen thousand in- 
habitants. Between High Street, New Street, 
Edgbaston Street, and Dudley Street, (around the 
principal Meeting House,) had grown up quite a 
new town, with several streets intersecting it, 
among them Old Meeting Street, Colmore Street, 
and The Froggary. New Street had probably 

grown at least as far as Peck Lane, and £il 

Street as far as the Minories. Going out in th 

direction of Coleshill, the houses would now e: 

tend almost to the Old Cross, while much of th 

ground between the part of High Street calle 

the Beast Market and Moor Street would be tille 

up with dwellings. In the town itself, ther 

would be fewer open spaces at the back of th 

houses which lined the streets, for there were noi 

one hundred courts and alleys. But there wer 

still green fields and pleasant gardens within eas; 

access on every side. The upper end of Moo 

Street, and all the land below Park Street, wa 

yet under cultivation or used as grazing land 

Behind the fringe of houses which shut in Hig] 

Street from the country on the north-eastern sid^ 

of the town, fields and gardens stretclied out 

across which one might look as far as New Hall 

which was situated on the crown of the hill nop 

covered by Mount Street and Graham Street 

St. Philip's Church was yet imthought of, and the 

pleasant grassy knoll which was afterwards called 

Bennett's Hill was far away from the smoke and 

bustle of the town and the sound of the anvil. 

The busy inhabitants had probably by this 

time begun to taste the pleasures of theatrical 

entertainments. Occasionally a rude shed of 

boards' in the fields now called Temple Street 

became the temporary abode of various compauiefi 

of strolling players. It is not probable that such 

performers ever attempted anything higher than 

the " Drolls," of which a number of examples ore 

to be found in a curious book compiled by Francis 

Kirkman, and published in 1672, called "The 

Wits, or Sport upon Sport" But among thefie 

drolleries were several of the choicest comic scenee 

from the plays of Shakespeare. " The Humouis 

of Bottom the Weaver," and " The Droll of the 

Grave makers," (the famous Graveyard Scene 

from Hamlet,) may perhaps have been among 

those rude performances which delighted our 

forefathers in the simple shed which did duty 

for a theatre on that hill-eide field which ia now 

in the heart of the great modem city. 

iP«pfatotbeowTownBoi»ki,.i OLD AND NEW BIRMINGHAM. 



Sik of iwenrediittiiigi In St. Martin'i Church—'* Utensils and \e8i8ell« l;*?longiiig to tlw Church "--llrtastinK of the IwUs— Their sevenil 
Weighta— The Market Crosa— The '• Royal Touch"- Drums and Colours for liirmingliani— Custody of the Fire Engine— Necessity of a 
Clmuhrrfor public meetings— A room built over the Cross— The Welsh Cross— Teuiple Row. 

HiviKo glanced in our laajb chapter at tlie api)ear- 
ance and extent of the town duiing the later 
ywn of the seventeenth century, it may be 
interesting now to refer once more to the old Town 
IJooks mentioned in our sixth chapter, and by 
their aid to take a peep at the doings of the 
inhabitants during the same period. 

Ve l>egin at Church. In that sacred edifice, 

even at that early period, the warning of St. 

James had already begun to be neglected, and 

the best seals were reserved for those who could 

affonl to pay for them. It is true the sum which 

entitled the worshipper to one of the favoured seats 

vas not higli, the charge being, as appears from 

these interesting records, f ourpence for each sitting. 

**Tlie Account of those persons that were entered 

''V John Allen and John AValloxall, Church- 

wanlens for the yeore 1G76, into Seats in the 

rhurt-h/* states that on June 3rd, fouq^ence was 

receivi'd "of Mr Hurse for his wife's seat," and 

a like sum from each of the following, during 

the same year: of Thomas Day "for William 

Eilj^leys plact?," of Richard BoUingsley "for his 

wifes place being the widow Bakers," " of ^fary 

i'ooke for her Mother Alice Graves place," of 

iiichard Lewis "for to reserve his wifes place," 

of Tobit Manwaring "for his wifes place," and 

of "William Doley, ** for his wifes place in the 

27 jKtw in the Middle Aisle." In the next year, 

l»i77, the first receipt is "for ^Ir. (iregorys place 

in the new South loft next the pulpitt," the 

intending new occupant being a Mr. Kichard 

Scott; there are many others during the year, 

and from the positions in the church being in 

moet cases indicated, they possess more general 


interest than those of 1676. One of these is 
for five places (the amount being as usual four- 
pence for each sitting, without reduction in 
consideration of the quantity), the sum of one 
shilling and eighti)cnce being received " of 
Jonathan Newman and his wife and Benjamin 
Hawkes and Thomas Townsend and William 

* for 5 places in a seat they have 

builded it being the hinderraost seat between 
the West Dore and the Staires directly behind 
William Greaves seat." Later on is a quaint 
entry of the receipt of the usual amount from 
John Grumpton " for his Mothers place in the 
Middle He. pew beliind the pulpitt by consent 
of his Mother." The next receipt Is from one 
of tho churchwardens named at the commence- 
ment of the entries, John Walloxall, "for a place 
in the New Seats behind the South door at the 
going up of the Staires that goes up into the 
west loft for his man to sit in, he being the 
Church warden." His successor, it would appear, 
built a seat for himself, but honestly debited 
himself with the usual charge for sittings in the 
church. The entry is as follows : 

"Nov 7 1678 Georgo Abell and Kichard 
Wliyle being thon Churchwardens 
found a vacant place in the Church 
before the seates where William 
Greaves did Sitt Kichard Whyle at 
his own cost and charge did build a 
seat there by consent of his partener 
joining to the conion Scate for the 
Churchwardens over against the font, 
under the old loft for himself and a 
Sonne to set in, and doth acicompt to 
the Towne according to the Custom 
of the Towne for the grownde .... 8 " 

Nam*' undpolphi'mble. 

^^1> NEW BIItMlN^ 

[A Pe«?i» tot4> the OW Town 

On the 22nd of April, 1682, is recorded the 
transfer, from the retiring Churchwardona to 
those newly appointed, of **thtse utensils and 
veeaells belongijig to the Church/* 

** 2 Comunion Ctipps with their Cover?* k Cftflea 
4 Pi wt**!* fflngtin^ 
*i iH?w tut |tljttA to ^tltiT nio]if' y in 
4 trt.nehoi"3 

a Lyii tit"!! k a BrctachtCurpet for y^ Comuiuoii Tabic 
1 riishoii 
20 Savv LenlUaniG Buuketts 

(tUcy will Bot take chargo of Duclcotts.] ** 

•* 1 Bell wav<l 

2 Bell 

3 Boll 

4 B«>n 

5 n^ii 

e ni41 

ill uU 



■ J 



^ ^ 



' ■ 



23 ^ 



8 1 


124 1 







We hixYti s<*i^n, m our forcicr cxtracta 
these books, the wilUngnesa of the people of lii 
rainghain to give of their dubstance to aid tho 
who had suffered from diaaatrous fires ; but 


Tho receipt of those articles is duly acknow- 
ledgod hj the new war^lens, Sttniuel Banner am! 
John Kogers, during whom year of olht;e the six 
bells, then comprising the only peal in Birming- 
hatn, Were recast, the several weights being entered 
in th& Town Houk as fi>Iiaws : 

they a|)pcar at all times to have ghully resjiontU 
to npiteais of thl!§ kind, they were aUo willi; 
to tLsaist others — ^anil oven those of other ooimti 
—in distress. On ** July y* IT* 1682" wm ^ 
lected in the Toiine of Bimiinf^ham by Lett< 
Patent fur the pei-secutoil T^niiv^j-mt^ gf ifj^^xi^ 


iiv,. «i-.tJ»*nMT«wf,ttinU) OLH AND XFAV DIimiXGHAM. 


iu i.M, U'lr I '111 nio iiui.'ibirivuu tlid not, iu 

IhHf li1>erality towards otliPi^, foi^et tLeir o\im 

lawrti and its nectisaities. The Market Cro€£t 

Dwdwl to lie rppairiHi : a nen' too( was nccessar}'* 

tjul u ccilk^etion wx* made for thai |tui*pOHe, th*? 

iwijJlof which i^ thu;5 recorded : — 

*'IM iUr 19 June 1633 of the lnhn»>itaht^ of the 

Tontic the aiim of H\x j»oim<U fonrtcm Shil- 

liQg^ and Kle?eii t«Dce town rf Is tht* Lending 

of 3** Cross, 

H«tneAa taf Iiand Wm W. B. Bridgmiin 

wh WHS p** by our constant 
wcttitfaa our ]iands 
Geo IfeQlliani 
Tho Flentwell 
Samuel Tayler 
George Abell 
WilHftm Gucat 
Ambrose Leay 
ThoioM Birch *' 

Thf next entry recall? an old superstition : 
'•Mirth lit t(SS3 KUznbt'th dnughter of Johu and 
Annf Dickftus of Birniiuj^ltam in Ih^ Court ty of Wwwick 
»*^ ctiteiSed for hi order to obUyuc hi» Mjyesty's Touch 
'*f hft cure 

Ueu*' Gruvc Minister 

John Biriii i ,,. 

H.i»y Porter { ^^^^i^^^^^'^'^ 

\ut many years aftt-nvanls, the poor aftlii.ted 

itttle sou lif the Lichfield h<jokseller, Michael 

'Win$<jn» (of whose wet^kly bookstall in Binning* 

hnm our readers have already hwird) paid his first 

rifflt to the metropolis wliich he afterwards loved 

m well, for the* same purjxMte. He was * touched* 

hy Queen Aime, and altliongh only tldrty months 

[old at the time, retained throughout his life "a 

I ranfuiied^ hat somehow a sort of solemn recollection 

[of ^ huljr ixt diamomld^ and a long black lioodr" 

Iw 1692, Birminghnnj wuuM appear to have 

Ilioeume amhitiou? of martial ilis]day. Amongsst 

Ithtf diflbardementa of that year ia an entry of one 

I to *Mlitin Court, for Drums & Collora" (colours), 

tZ 1 6a 6d,, and in the receipts is one **for Dnmm 

Bd for Bir." £2A IQs. Cd, 

ITudcff date May 7th, 16D5, is an agreement 

tVilliam Bum " to keep the Engine in 

tq plajr 3t 4 times every year, and the 

[michwai^lcn^ are to give him Tnenty Slallings 

I J4mt9 f0T <b<» same.** 

M'ith drums and colours, and a ft re engine, 
still Eirmingham was ** not happy." The people 
needed a room in which to hold public meetings, 
and almost as soon as the eighteenth century had 
dawned the sum of M7 15s. 3il, was subscribed 
for the repairing of the Market Croas, and 
** making a roome over it.** In the March of 
1703 this room Avas neiirly finished, antl the 
fuHowing entry occurs as to the puq^oses for 
which it ia to he u^ed : 

** March ye 22 1703. Whems there is a Itooni 
nearly built over that wliich is the Butter Cros-s 
(the account and rluirge 1 liave of it is on tlie 
other side), itts this day uidei-ed antl agi-eed by 
va whose names arc viidcr written that the key 
& letting theare of to tlie best advantage shall 
be in the power of the Constables ffor the time 
being, they reserving llbr all publick meetings f^jr 
the Uf^e of the inhabitants and what advantage 
is tttude thereof they shall account for when they 
give iipp tlierc other acconnts to the Towno/* 

In the next year is the lii*st entry of a meeting 
in the new Chamber: 

"Sept 19 170-1. It was then agreed at a 
meeting ut the Chamber over the Cross the 
Consttd>le Church%vardens and overseers being 
psent, That for the future noe money shall he 
spent on the puhlick account upon any day of 
Public Kejgycing unless the ofhcer fii-st call a 
public k jnceting at the said Chamber, in order 
to liave the Coiu 'A of the Inhabitajiits uidess 
pai-ticvdar diicction siudl be given by the Deputy 
Lieuten^ Justices of the i>caL'e or othei-s in 
authnrity for that purpose." 

Whore public meetings had previously been 
held we do not know, but thei^e ia an entry in 
tlm hooks of one having been held before the 
linishing of the Crosa Chamber. 

** April 7th 1702 Its this day ordered att a 
Public meeting of the Parifihon"^ of Birmingham 
That tlie Twenty ponce that hath used to be 
paid to the Church wai<lens for the Ringing the 
Bell to any funerall shall not be paid (t the 
1 future by any penon/' 



tSaint Philip's Church. 

The Welsh Cross would appear to have been 
built in the year 1706, as on the 1 6th of February 
in that year " it was ordered that the Constables 
shall disburse the sum of 18. 12. towards the 
finishing of -the Welch Cross and Chamber over 
the same." There were therefore now two Cham- 
bers in the town in which meetings might be 
held, but in neither of them was there sufficient 
accommodation, one would imagine, for anything 
like a representative toivn's meeting, even with 
tlie comparatively small population of that period. 

The next entry of general interest relates to 
the new Church of St. Philip, a description of 
which will form the subject of our next chapter. 

" 1715 Whereas it is thought proper by most 
of the principal inhabitants of the Town of 
Birmingham in the County of AVarwick that a 
more Convenient way or passage should be pur- 


chased out of Bull Street to the New Church in 
Bu'mingham aforesaed Called St. Phillips And 
whereas at a parech Meeting of the p* [present] 
principal Inhabitants this day appointed tc 
consult thereupon It appears that a conveniem 
way or i)lace may be purchased,. such purchas ia 

" This * passage,' " says Mr. Bunce, "is no douU 
the present Temple Row." 

AVe may now leave the Toivn Books for i]^ 
present. The few remaining entries of intere.= 
in the first book will be referred to in the co\irs= 
of our story, as illustrating the growth of oi 
public buildings, and at a later period we m» 
take a peep at the second book, in the beginnii:a 
of whicli for the first time are entered (i 
addition to those of St. Martin's) the names c: 
the Churchwardens of the Church of St. Philip- 


XecesBlty for a new chuix-h— The site of St. Philip's— William Hutton on religious donations— The chiin'h built — I>escTii»tion of 
building— " The church in danger"— Dr. Sacheverell in Binningliani— His sermon at Sutton Coldfleld, and Its effects— Riot « 
Birmingham- Attack on the Meeting Hoiises. 

Thb rapid growth of the town during the closing 
years of the seventeenth century and the early 
part of the eighteenth, i-endered it impossible for 
the single parish church to accommodate the in- 
creasing number of the parishioners, and an Act 
of Parliament was obtained in 1711 (7th Anne) 
for building a new parish church and parsonage, 
and making a new parish and a new churchyard 
in Birmingham, the land being given by llobert 
Phillips, Esq., an ancestor of the Inge family. 
It was formerly part of a farm, and bore the 
name of the Horse Close, afterwards Barley Close. 
"Thus," says our quaint historian, "a benign 
spot of earth gave additional spirits to a man 
while living, and kindly covered him in its bosom 
when dead." This spot is the summit of the 
highest eminence in the town, and was stated 

in a rei)ort of the British College of Physiciai:* 
published about thirty years ago, to be level wi t 
the top of the cross of St. Paul's, London; an 
is, according to Fullarton's Directory, 475 fc^' 
above sou-level. 

Some of Hutton's remarks on religious doi:i 
tions (djH'opos of the gift of the land for ti 
Philip's) ai*e worth quoting here on account * 
their quaint half-cynical humour. " Sometimes, 
he says, " we assign our property for religiou 
uses late in the evening of life, when enjoyinen 
is over, and almost possession. Thus we bequeati 
to piety what we can keep no longer. ^^ 
convey our name to posterity at the expense 
of our successor, and scafifold our way towards 
heaven up the walls of a steepla Will charity 
chalk up one additional score in our favour, 



[St PhUip's ChnrcK. 

because we grant a small portion of our land 
to found a church, which enables us to augment 
the remainder treble its value, by grunting 
building leases 1 " 

The land given by Robert Phillips for the new 
Church and Churchyaixl was at that time quite 
outside the town, the nearest buildings at that 
time being those in liull Sti-eet The building 
was commenced in 1711, under a Commission, 
consisting of twenty of the neighbouring gentry 
appointed, in accord.inco with the provisions of 
the Act of Parliament, by the bishop of the 
diocese ; their commission ending twelve months 
aftyf the erection of the church. The building 
was not linisheil until 1719, having occupied 
ciglit years in its erection, but was consecrated 
in 1715, and dedicated to 8t. Philip, thus, a.s 
JIutton puts it, joining the donor's name in 
partnership with a saint in order t») perpetuate 
his (the donor's) memor}', and share with the 
saintly patron a red letter in the almanack. 

" When I first saw St. Philip's, in the year 
1741," says our pleasant chatty historian, **at a 
proper distance, uncrowded with houses, for thei-e 
were none to the north. New Hall excepted, 
untaraished with smoke, and illuminated by a 
w*estern sun, I was delighted with its appearance, 
and thought it then, what I do now, and what 
others will in future, tlte lyride of the place. If 
we assemble the beauties of the edifice, which 
cover a rood of ground ; the spacious area of the 
churchyard, occupying four acres, ornamented 
with walks in great perfection, shaded with trees 
in double and treble ranks, and surrounded with 
buildings in elegant taste; perhaps its equal 
cannot be found in the British dominions." 

The architectural character of this beautiful 
structure is Italian, consisting of a pedestal line 
of good height, a range of lofty Doric pilasters, 
enclosing the large and well-proportioned win- 
dows, and a handsome balustrade, which wiis 
subsequently surmounted by a row of urns, in 
the year 1756 (during the watdensbip of John 
Baskerville, the famous pnntor) ; but these latter 

were i-emoved, being in a dangerous condition, a 
few years before the restoration of the building 
of which we shall have to speak hereafter. 
At the western end of the church, between 
the two entrances, is a square projection above 
which rises the elegant tower, with Corinthian 
pilasters, carried upwards by a series of carved 
figures, within which arc enclosed the four dials of 
the clock. The tower is surmounted by a well- 
proportioned dome, above which rises a lantern 
cupola, with a ball and vane. Tlie design for 
the building was furnished by one of the com- 
missioner, Thomas Archer, Esq. 

"This curious piece of arcliitecture," says 
Hutton, "the steeple of which is erected after 
the model of St. Paul's, in London, but without 
its weight, does honom* to the ago that raised it, 
find to the place that contiiins it Perhaps the 
eye of the critic cannot point out a fault, which 
tlie hand of the artist can mend; perhaps tew, 
the attentive eye cannot survey this pile of build- 
ing, without communicating to the mind a small 
degree of pleasure. If the materials are not proof 
against time, it is rather a misfortune to bt» 
lamented, rather than an en-or to bo complained 
of, the country producing no better." 

If we enter the building w& shall find its inter- 
nal appearance fully bear out the expectations 
raised by the beauty of the exterior. It is said to 
be capable of holding upwards of 2,000 persons, 
and consists of a nave and two side aisles, formed 
by two rows of fluted Doric columns, from which 
spring arches wliich support the roof. At the 
east end is a handsome altar screen; and the 
ornaments of the building are in every way appro- 
priate. " The organ excels; the paintings, mould- 
ings, and gildings are superb; whether the stranger 
takes an external or an internal survey, the eye is 
struck with delight, and he 2)ronounces the whole 
the work of a master. Its conveniency also can 
only be equalled by its elegance." ♦ 

There is, however, one fault, viz., in the posi- 
tion of the building, which does not range either 

* Rntton. 

with ibe boimdary lines of the cluirchyardj or 
irith any of the rows of handsome buildings 
whidi siirroimd it. This defect arises from a 
stdjci odLereDce to the canoBical regulation for 
ph^fig the chaijcol eastwar<L **It is aniimng/' 
mf$ HntV^Di " that even weakness itself, by long 
imciioe, becomes canonical ; it gains credit by its 
age and its company* Hence, Sternhold and 
Bc^pkina, by being long bound up with scripture, 
ftoc^oiii^l a kind of scripture authority/* A de- 
I acdptiaa of the churchyard and the many interest- 
memorials of departed Llirniiughiuu worthier 
be given in our notice uf the restorntion of 
tine ehuieh, a matter wluch pertains to the New 
Bir . rather than the Old, 

\. _... ,iie Chuivh in Birmingham wjis giving 
Qzuitiiiakeable signs of prosperity, in the provision 
tn^e by the erection of St Philip's, for the in- 
enttsing number of worshippers, a cry was being 
misrcl by various bigots throughout tlie countiy, 
(with Dr. SacheveTcU at their head,) of **the 
Omrch in danger," '*\Vlien that fluining lu- 
miJiaf^, I)t* SachevoK-ll, set half the kingdom 
nt m Uacdf the inhabitants of this region of in* 
dualty caught the Ppark of the da}-, and grew 
waim for the church. They had always been 
i&ttied to Jtr^t but now we behold them between 
two,*** The doctor, according to ITutton, **rtDde 
tft tritunph through the streets of Birmingham," 
» 17Qt, where '*thia flimsy iihil of party siiulUd 
il^*lbe incense of the popidace," — not of the 
ik»rt among them, however ; ** the iuor»* 
iiblc,** mhU nur historian, ** withheld tiieir 
homage,'* He preached at Sutton Coklfield, where 
he liail fsimily connections, and, we are t^ild, ** the 

people of Birmingham crowded in mtdtitudes 
roimd his pulpit." His message to the people in 
the 8 apposed lioitr of danger does not seem to 
have been one of peace and conciliation. *' It 
does not appear/* says, Huttou, qiiuiutly, " that 
he tiiught his healers to build iqj Zlon^ but per- 
haps to pull her down ; for they immediately went 
and gutted a meeting-house/' The fire of hatred 
towards the dissenters thus wickedly scattered 
umongst the people of Birmingham, smouldered 
for about six years, at the end of which period it 
found vent in serious riots, which broke out on 
the 16th of Jidy, ITLx On Saturday, Jxdy 16, 
the mob made an attack upon the Lower Meeting 
Hnuse, in Digbeth ; but upon the prtiprietor of 
the building making a promise that it should be 
put to other uses, they took out the seats and 
whatever else they could find belonging to the 
congregation, and hunit them, leaving the build- 
ing uninjured. It was afti^rwiirds converted into 
a workshop, but the memory of the early Kou- 
conformists who worshipped on tliia site ie still 
perpetuated in the name of ^^eeting House Yard* 
" The sctund of the pulpit," says our quaint his- 
torian, *' is changed into that ol the bellows ; 
itiJitead of an impression upon the lieart, it is now 
stamped upon the button. The visitants used to 
ajvpear in a variety of colours, but now always in 

The rioters continticil their work of destruction 
on the next day, {Sunday,) by attacking the 
Upper, or Ohl Meeting House, and destroyed nearly 
the wholo of the interior by fire. They also puEed 
down meeting houses at West Bromwich, Cradley, 
and liratlley, and burnt one at Oldbury lujtl 
another at lUidlev. 


OLD AXn XEW BTln^IXaHA^^. rAPictuw»rBlni.lut:h«in.lnl73(.-.U 



Wrsth>y's Prospect am\ /'/fi/i— Nt-w IIsill Ijinc— Wliitoliall (»r Stoelhouse Lime— "Tlie Butts -—Baptist Meetiug llonia— Tha Vtir 1 

Jlouae— Tlie old Crosses— The Mi>at - St. MailiirsUccturi-- La«ly Wt-U aii'l tho " CoM Bath "—Open Spacer— The BqiMrt TtftChwy 
Orihards— The Inklcys— Riinil Walks- Market riaoes-Tlic Welsh Cross as a Giuird House— Orowth of the Town, from ITOttolViL] 

We now come to the first elaborate picture of 
the town, — the first having any pretension to 
accnracy of detail at all. There had previously 
existed only the "prospect" in Dugdale's War- 
wickshire, which was too small and contracted to 
admit of any attempt at detail. And since the 
time of Dugdale, as we have seen, the town hail 
not only greatly increased in size, but hatl been 
idso much adorned and improved. This large 
'' Prospect," drawn by W. Westley, about 1730,* 
(which is 33 in. by l.'U, in. in size, exclusive of 
margin,) is therefore one of the most interesting 
documents extant relating to old Birmingham, 
and, when taken in connection with the "Plan," 
(also engraved by AVestley, in 1731,) will help 
to give us a better idea of the extent and appear- 
an(^e t)f the town than we have hitherto (obtained. 
The three most prominent objects in the 
" Prospect " are St. Martin's Chui'ch, the newly- 
built Grammar School, (of which an account will 
be given in our next chapter,) an<l St. Philip's 
(.'hurch. The latter was, as we have sai<l, on 
the outskirts of the town. The road on tlu» 
north-eastern side of it was then called Xew Hall 
T^ne, and, with the exception of one or two 
houses at the end now willed Monmouth Street, 
was as yet unbuilt upon. Its appearance at that 
time may best bo seen by referring to AVestley ^s 
view of St. Philip's, a fac-simile of which is give:i 
on page 61. 

' Tliere is no date upon the engraving, but in the sixtli edition 
of Button, (Quest's,) it is given as 1720. It could not have been as 
early as that, howerer, as the New Meeting House in Moor Street, 
(whioh is shown in the engraving,) was not commenced until 

" Xew Hall Lane," says a recent 
'^was a pleasant country road, skirted <m tm 
side by the newly laid-out churchjaid otl'fli 
Philip's, and on the other, from SnowHBLlft 
Pamdise Street, by the park and gronndi H 
Colemore family. The ancient mansion, 
as ' Xew Hall,' stood in lonely grandeor iQ;'Ai 
mid.^t of this estate, embowered in tzeea.' ^Che 
roadway of Xew Hall Street, just on the'lmw 
of the hill below Great Charles Street^ < 
the site of this house, the approach to whiek - 
through a pair of iron gates, which stood 
diately opposite the top of the present Bennetts 
Hill. From these gates to tho hall was a faioad 
carriage drive with a fine avenue of lofty efana 
The grounds extended from Snow Hill on the 
right to Paradise Street on the loft, and stretched 
backwards to Warstone Lane and HaU Street 
AVithin this large area the Xew Hall waii As 
only house, and there was no public road. ■ Ob 
the site of the Union Club House there waa; a 
deep pool. AVhere the gold now chinks npoafliB 
counter of the District Bank the song of flis 
thrush fmm the tree-top was then the only 
music. AVhere Messrs. Sabin and Stockley now 
dispense ocarinas and harmoniums in Ann Street 
the lark nursed her young amongst the eowdipi^ 
while her mate warbled to her from the hlue aky 
overhead. The cattle and tho sheep that greied 
in the ploiisant pastures looked clean and white^ 

* Mr. Eliczer Edwards, author of tho \'ery intereitiiic TitaM 
of " Personal Recollections " recently published, and of ttt mtat 
curious and interesting papers on Old Biroiln^iham wtaMl hnt 
appeared during the past few months in tht . 


OLD AND XEW BIEMIIvGHAM. iAnetuT«orBiniiii^giuim.iiiiT3 

for in thoso days eteam-enginea were not^ and 
the showers of sooty particles tlmt now make 
everythmg in tho neighbourhood look black and 
dingy were unkuowiL The Colmore estate was 
as rural, as bright, iind as fresh as any part of 
the glorious landscape upon which on© looks 
from the heights of Malvern. 

"Nor was the estate wanting in the chann which 
water gives to a landscape. A small stream came 
trickling down from the roach pool and entered 
the estate on the western side, Near where 
Messrs. Elkington*a famous works now stand the 
stTcam widened into a pool, and on the site of the 
Hour mills at the foot of Snow Hill was a larger 
sheet of water called the * Great Pool* Tho 
stream flowed thence across the * Wolverhanipton 
Koad ' on the surface, but a narrow bridge of 
brickwork stood on each side of tho nmdway for 
the convenience of foot pasaen gel's. A spectator 
looking from the north side of the balcony of St, 
Philip's Church saw open coimtrj extending from 
Sutton and Fazeley eastwards to the noble range 
of the Clent and Lickey Hills on the west, and in 
all that broad expanse not a factory chimney 
smoked, nor was a bit of 'town life' visible. 
Birmingham lay altogether southwards, and its 
entire population was only fifteen thousand*— 
rather leas than the present population of Smetli- 

The continuation of New Hall Lane, as will be 

, seen from the Plan, was built upon almost as far 

ias St4^tTord Street, and was then promiscuously 

called White Hall or Steel-house Lane, the latter 

name from " Kettle^s Steel Houses," which are 

shown both on the Plan and the Prospect ; in the 

r latter as situated on either aide of a continuation 

Lpf Newton Street These were the first funiaces 

in Binningham lor converting iron into steel ; 

and were erected about the be^^iimiiig of the 

eighteenth century. The SUifTord road had now 

taken the nam© of Stalford Street, or *'The 

[* According to th« fiUknivut &i tlie foci of Westlfyj* " Pljiu," 
the porutntJon of BinalngUftm in 1731 (tlic ]*tnod of which Mr. 
^Awt^ds write*) was ^,2S0. There wtrt 14,0A2 ishftbitunU in the 
yw 1700— ii.KJJJ 

Butts,'* as it was sometimes called; **being," says 

Hutton, " a mark to ?hoot at, when the bow wiia_ 

tho fashionable instrument of war, which tb 

artist of Binningham knew well how to make i 

to use." Coleshill Street extended aa far 05 tho oli 

Cross, at tho end of Stiifford Street, (where 

End now terminates,) and Moor Street (and«nllj 

called Mole Strt^et, fj'oui the eminence on on 

side, or the decli\Hty on the other,) was builj 

upon on one side along its entire length. Ca 

Lane is called in Westlcy's Flan *'Care Lane.1 

Mr. W» Bates, in a MS. note to his interest! n 

Ouide, glvea the following us the origin of 

name : ** In this locality was tlie hovel in whic 

was kept tho Cart used to convey the variou 

sacred matters used in processions to and froij 

the mother Church of St Martin's ; hence Car 

lanc^ Car-lane, Carr' it-lane, Mr. James * receive 

this information from ^fr, (rarbutt, who fouB 

it among the records of King Edwaid^s School. "| 

Owing to the '*veiy stoop" declivity at 

High Street end of this thoroughfare, it was i 

that time the scene of many accidents, some 

whic!i proved fatal. In Ari^'a Gazette (of whic 

jonnifti we shall have more to say hereafter) 

the 6th of January, 1T45, is the following: 

"Birmingham, January 6. — On WciluemUy 
[Jrmniiry Ist] a Man who was turning n londt'd Wi 
IVom the High Street in i\m Town» ilown Car's Laue« I 
very steep Turning, without Lokirig tho Wheels, by til 
sud<lcii Motion of the Waggon he was knock M down 1 
tlir Slmfts, and thu Wheels going ovitr hini/he riH**ir|i 
so much Hurt thiit lie died in an Hour ftften.viinls,' 

Tliree years afterwards another fatal accident 

on the same spot is chrnnicled in that journa], > 

follows : 

** Dirminghani, Mitj 2nd, 1748,— On Thursday hi 
by the surldcn Turning of a Cart from the Higli Stn 
Cftrr's baiKfi in this Town, the Driver was crushed I 
the Shafts ngninst the Comer House in such a Man&<9 
that he dietl in half an hour nfterworda." 

Turk Street (t^ continue our survey miind tl 

fjoundarks of the town) was built uj>on for moi 

than half its length, and a new meeting hoti 

had been erected by one of the sections of 

* Tlie \aX*i Kvv. Jolin Artgrll Jmncji 

Bi^ raiiiatioB, ill Freemftn Street, between 

Pii:„ , jjid Moor Street* 

Pi?©ctly behind the Baptist meeting house, in 
tli€ prints the reader will observo the New Meeting 
ol Uie Presbyterians, which was commenced about 
1725, (aft4?r their ejection from the Lower Meeting 
Hot^to in Diglieth, as the n^^ult of the Sacheverell 
t opened on the 19th of April, 1732, 
gables of the Old M^eeting Hoiise may 
lie eaen btdtlnd, and a little to the right of, Bt 
Kartin's Church. In the left corner of the pic- 
Iqiv, n tho old Chapel of St Jolin, from which 
liae iiod of the street, over the old narrow bridge, 
which t(|Miuned the Itea, may be traced through 
kiwn. The old Market Cross is shown in a 
% line above the boy on the left side of the 
►be, and the Welsh Cross a little to the left 
Kew Meeting. The bmldinga in the 
id on the right are called in the doscrip- 
iTe key •*Cooper*8 Mills and Houses" In a direct 
Hue above these may be seen ** Carlesse's Steel 
Hodse," and the old cross, at the junction of 
I CoJosliiD Street ami Stafford Street, 
H^ HeiumiDg again to tho left of the ** Prosjieet," 
^B^ Riiditr will notice the ancient moat, on the 
^^H of which, ten years later, a manufactory, 
^ntlii a dwtiliing house^ was erected, and the 
V**]iiiOat" itself came at last to the "base use" of 
Hlmiiing % ibnml mill. 

H A littlo above it, somewhat to the right, is seen 
HUm moated residence of the insctors of St 
P Ifutia's^ die two moats being connected by a 
IMRDW ditch or stream. Close to the rectory is 
•in the enehjstire containing the " Cold Bath " 
lad •* Thi3 Lady's Well" The latter was ** a 
■fon^ of clear, soft, and pure water,** arising 
"fettm tlie Bjthaiistlesa nndei^ground river, by 
whUi the numberless pumps of fine water at the 
binrrpArt of the town [in the neigbourhood of Ti\^- 
hrt, pwf iaosly referred to in these pages,] are fed ; 
tkf «-al«fir hftre ariatjA to the surface, and appears in 
&i form of a *rmall eaclased pool, of ancient as- 
pKl,''* uamtsd, in honour of tlie Vii^in,Lady WeJJ. 


.) Ftetorts) OnJde to Blniiltigbaili, p. IdO. 

At the extreme left of tho Prospect, in the 
distance, is seen the old Hall an»l Church of 
Edgbaston, to which more particular reference 
will be made in our notices of the suburbs. 

Of open spaces (notwithstanding the sur- 
prising number of '* courts and alleys" at that 
period,) there were several in the to^vn. The 
principal of these was, of course, the Old Square, 
which is shown on the Plan as having an enclosed 
garden in the centre* There would appear to 
have been at least a footway corresponding to tli© 
present Union Street and Cherry Street, between 
High Street and Temple Row, About half 
way between this foot-way and New Street was 
situated **C<irbet*8 Bowling Gre-n/' the site of 
which is now crossed by Union Passage. A 
little higher up, near the point at which Cannon 
Street now terminates, the okl foot-path crossed 
*' Walker*s Cherry Orchanl/* Beyond this, at 
the end of the path, was the large and pleasant 
chorchyard of St Philip's, around which was 
planted a double row of young trees, and across 
which one might look out upon the open country, 
having come to the end of the domain of brick 
and mortar, Tem})le Street, and the thorough- 
fare now known as Temple Row West, marked 
the end of tho town on tho north-western side. 
Two meadows ocrupied the triangular piece of 
land now bounded by Ann Street, Bennett's Hill, 
and Kew Street The site of the new Corporate 
Buildings and the Town Htill w^as also meadow- 
land. **GreL*n wood's Cherry Orchard " occupied 
the other triangle formed by New Street, Pinfold 
Street, and Peck Lane. The lakleys (spelt on 
the Plan ** Hinklys " — a fact which goes against 
Hutton's theory of its etymology *) would appear 
to have been covered with gardens at that time, 
bounded on the side nearest Edgbaston Street by 
a pathway called llinkly Row, running from 
Dudley Street to "Tunksea Street" To this 

* "Tlitt tlueturu uf the flinoky tbopt^ with &U tbelr Uttck ^nti- 
fur«, fur wddim; gun Ijorroli, whieb Afterwards ippcftred on thv 
bock of Sititlbroke SU«tt. might oocftiiott the nrfghul uacae /nf;- 
£0^1 r ink if wull kDuWti ; leys U of Brtiijfcb dirtvatioD, ind mMik* 
gTAilntf ground ; lo UiAt Uie «tjioulogy, |ter]iAp4« U Btecfc PoitMrt." 
--Qiitton, sixth «diUoo, p. 93. 


OLD AND NEW BIRMINGHAM. [APictareofBlrmin^i»m,i 

spot the rude theatrical entertainments, which 
had previously been held on the site of Temple 
Street, migrated early in the eighteenth century, 
being driven from their old home by the rapid 
advance of the more respectable part of the 
town in that direction. But about 1730, 
Button tells us, "the amusements of the stage 
rose in a superior style of elegance, and entered 
something like a stable in Castle Street," one of 
the narrow lanes which had been found necessary 
between High Street and Moor Street. " Here," 
continues our quaint historian, "the comedian 
strutted in painted rags, ornamented with tinsel. 
The audience raised a noisy laugh, half real and 
half forced, at threepence a head." 

The continuation of Edgbaston Street, beyond 
the end of Dudley Street, was now called Small- 
brook Street, perhaps after the worthy who opposed 
Reverend Slater, and is said to have been one of the 
subjects of his stupid and irreverent punning ser- 
mon, referred to in a previous chapter. Hill Street 
was unknown. It does not appear from the Plan 
that there existed even a foot-path across the fields 
and gardens between the thoroughfare now called 
Paradise Street and " Tunkses Street " aforesaid. 
At the end of Peck Lane, in Pinfold Street, stood 
the Pinfold, which gave the name to the street. 

Whichever way the weary artizan took after 
his day's toil, from the centre of the town, he 
might reach the pleasant green lanes, meadows, 
and gardens by walking less than half a mile. 
From the for^^e or the smithy of Deritend he 
might take a delightfully rural walk along the 
lane which skirted the southern side of the moat, 
to the distant village of Edgbaston, (by way of 
the Parsonage and Lady Well,) from the steel- 
houses of White Hall Lane (Steelhouse Lane) 
and Coleshill Street, across the fields or along the 
highway to Aston, from Cooper's mills by way 
of Cary Field toward the Coventry or Stratford 
Road, — in either direction, within easy distance 
of his home, the workman might find a pleasant 
raial walk where the smoke of the town was yet 

Birmingham was still without a mar 
where all the articles oflfered for sale i 
concentrated into one point ; and the sell 
therefore scattered into various parts of t 
"Com was sold by sample in the Bu 
the eatable productions of the garden in 
place. Butchers' stalls occupied Spiceal 
one would think a narrow street was j 
that no customer should be suffered to 
Flowers, shrubs, &c, at the ends of Phil 
and Moor Street ; beds of earthenware 1 
middle of the foot ways ; and a double 
insignificant stalls, in the front of the g 
choke up the passage. The beast ma 
kept in Dale End; that for pigs, sh 
horses, in New Street; cheese issued 3 
of our principal inns, and afterwards 
open yard in Dale End ; fruit, fowl^, an 
were sold at the Old Cross ; nay, it is di 
mention a place where they were not."* 

The Welsh Cross was intended as a 
market, as the increasing population 
greater accommoilation ; yet, although 
used to a certain extent for that purpc 
people," says Hutton, "never heartily 
the measure." 

The upper chamber of this Cross (re 
in the last chapter) was used as a milita 
house. At the end of the first "Tow 
is an entry under date 1 6th December, 
follows : — 

"At a Genrall Meeting of the inhal 
the Town of Birmingham, it is agreed 
build a guard house in some convenic 
in the Towne aforesaid, as shall be 
agreed upon, it appearing to be very 
venient to the Town and the Inhabitant 
that the Guard should be kept at eithi 
Markett Crosses." 

" But this old order," says Hutton, "] 
of the new, was never carried into e 
As no complaint lies against the cros 
time, we may suppose it suitable for 

* Htttton, aizth •dition, p. 879. 



A P/ctar» of BirmlnghAiii« tti 1730- 

pone; and I know nnm hut Us prUontrtf thiU 
prowvinced wjaimt it** Iii front of this cnjss 
were placed those ancient barbarous implemonta 
of public torture, the stocks and the whipping- 

AHhoiigh some of the old hiiildiiiga had dia- 
appeared which had crowded up the ntirrow streets 
of the lowijr town, tho Birniinghani proper of ear- 
lier tiinQ:3, thosu streets still retained much of tlieir 
picturesijue disorder. ** Could any cunning writer" 
(says a contributor to the old Load Noi§s antl 
Qtierm, in the Jounml^*) ** succeed in conveying to 
U9 a correct itlea of Digbeth and the Bull King in 
those days, he would interest his reudera in no 
small degree, A narrow, winding, gradu^iUy ris- 
ing thorou^hface, pressed close on each side, with 
the picturesque, overhanging and pointed, gabled, 
half-fcimbtred erections of the Tudor period^ . . . 
ihui B winging signs, trade emblems, tavern posts, 
and shop wares obtrudin;^ conspicuously upon the 
thoLoughfare ; the broad, badly-kept gutters, fre- 
quently Hushed from numernus wells ; the foot- 
paths in bad repair, bound up wi<ih staves and 
timber ; tlie streets teeming with large round 
stones, kid in with gravel ; scavengers unknown ; 
conntables f«w ; heaps of rubbish pluntif id • mil- 
Im-s carts, rumbling teams, and noisy stages 
every wlieve, would be the serene through which 
the traveller of old would, on his entry into the 
town, pass on his way to the Church and Market 
Place, where a far different scene would meet his 
eye to ttiat presentiMl at the present day. The 
Old Church, approached by two liights of steps 
from Digbeth eorner ; tlie sexton's house, mid- 
Wiiy up the steps, and miscellaneous shops hem- 
ming in the Church on all sides, t (their back pre- 
mises being in th« churchyard itself) ; Piercers, 
Drapers, Ironmongers, Saddlers, Grocers, and 
Uutfitters, interspersed here find there with a 
well or pump ; the Bull Ring built up with shops 
and stalls approaching to mere shatubles as the 

"* In ail Interoating articlfr oa"Tlu}OM Inui Df Ilintiinghjuti," 

if Much In the ume way an thn^e an Lho X«w Street tide uf 
CliriAt Cliurcji at the present time,— R, K. li J 

Market Cross is gjiined ; in fact, the whole spa 
occupied with these stalls or standings, 
ground,* 'stallages,' * shamble^,' or any otl 
names such erections wei^ worth — and the grouc 
partially covered with crocks, the wares of tb 
dealers, and the spare goods of shopkeep 
around, who held tlie stall rights " 

Wo may here add a few notes as to varioi( 
improvements made in certain of the public build 
ings of the town about this period 

A new clock had been recently placed in 
Market Cross, as appears by an entry at the 
ginning of the second Town Book, as follows : 

"14t day of July 1727 a note that the neighbour* t 
the Markett Cioas have bought a new Clock ftt their < 
exp&nsc k that it be fixed t kept in good ord«r at tli« 
tixpetisi} of the Towu/* 

Further on in the same book is the following : — 

*' Sept 2<l 1729 To Jonfttlmn Taylor for Pidnliug aad 
Gilding the D^tll Board at tho Old Cross, 4. 13. 0." 

At the mother Church tho hands of improvcn 
were still busy, sometimes for good, but more fre^ 
quently otherwise, A new organ, placed in the 
churdi at the cost of the parishioners, (the amount 
of X300 being i-aised for that purpose by volun- 
tary subscriptiana;,) was among the more com- 
mendable of the * improvements * eflTected at 
period. If the church had hitherto used m 
organ built by that ** Bromicham organ-maker' 
who had re-pealeti the organs at Halesowen ill 
1 498, it was certainly none too soon to provid^ 
a now one in 1726. 

The tasteless restoration of the building in 169 
was probably left untouched until 1733, wheal 
another ** improvement " was effected ; it beingl 
*1 agreed" at a Yestry meeting held on FridayJ 
August 3rd, in that year, "after having consult 
at yo time aforesaid the proper workmen, andl 
considered their calculation of the expense, toj 
take off tlic mot of the ^litldle Chancell & 
raise the walls thereof about Eight or Nine feet 
at most, & to put therein on each side a coa^ 
venient number of windows, ^ to lay the 
roof on again, in ye same manner it then Uy^ 

(The tree dramnuir School. 



& to finish all ye sayd work at ye Parish charge 
in a Suhetantial way." 

In the new Church of St Philip it was ordered, 
June 13, 1727, "that a fframe of good Timber 
be erected & fix'd in the Steeple ... for 
Hanging of Eight Bells, & that the two Bells 
already made be hung there with all convenient 
speed." The first of these bells had already been 
the subject of a resolution, in the preceding April, 
to the effect that one Joseph Smith should " rc- 
ceeive the Mettle from Mr. Bradbum " in order 
to cast the said beU. Only six bolls appear, how- 
ever, at that time to have been provided, it being 
perhaps thought that the peal of the new church 
ought not to excel that of the old, which then 
consisted of the same number. 

The increase of the town from 1700 to 1731 
may be best seen from the following statement, 
which we have tabulated from tne notice at the 

foot of AVestley's Plan : — 

„ - 1700. 17S1. Increaac, 
Ao. of 

Streets 30 55 25 

Courts and alleys ... 100 150 50 

Houses 2,504 3,719 1,215 

Inhabitants 15,032 23,286 8,254 

These figures will enable our readers to com- 
plete for themselves the present picture of the 
town, and we may proceed, in the succeeding 
chapter, to trace out the history of some of the 
newer institutions of that period, which were 
gradually changing the gcnei*al apj)earance of the 



In the sevenUenth century. 

The Free Omnxnar School— The Blue Coat School— Maintenance of the Poor— Erection of a Workhouse— Leneh's Trust— Other charities. 

If the reader will turn back for a moment to 
the first chapter of this liistory, he will find a 
brief reference to the Gild of the Holy Cross, 
out of which arose our Free Grammar School. 
At the time of the dissolution of the religious 
houses in the reign of Henry Vlll., the posses- 
sions of this gild were valued at <£31 2s. lOd. 
Certain of these possessions were, in the fifth year 
of the reign of Edward Yl. (at the humble suit of 
the townsmen), granted by that monarch to the 
bailiffs and nineteen other inhabitants of Bir- 
mingham, and their successors, for the support 
and maintenance of a Free Grammar School, with 
one head and one under master. " The grantees and 
their successors were created a body corporate and 
politic of themselves, in perpetuity, by the name of 
the GovemorSf &c. — to have a common seal, and to 
fdead and to be impleaded by their corporate 

name, in all actions and suits touching the 
premises, to have the appointment of the two 
masters, and, with the advice of the bishop of 
the diocese, to make fit and wholesome statutes 
and ordinances concerning the government of the 
school, &c."* The lands thus given back to the 
people were then valued at <£21, the choice being 
offered to Birmingham and ilie village of King's 
Norton, between that amount in money, and the 
crown lands of that value. King's Norton, with 
an eye to present good, chose the money, which 
remains the same annual income to the present 
day; whilst Birmingham, with perhaps a dim 
prevision of its future growth and consequent 
increase in the value of land, made? choice of 
the latter, which has increased in value with the 
growth of the town, until it is now an enormous 

* [W. Beteit :] rictorial Guide, etc. p. 106. 


rThe Free Gnunmar 8cbooL 

rcvriiiic, and i.s likely to increase still further in 
the future until this Institution becomes one of 
the most riclily endowed of any in the country. 
" There is scarcely a principal street that more or 
less of this property does not lie in : Xew Street, 
High Street, Union Street, Eull Street, Dale 
End, ^foor Street, Edgbaston Street, Spiceall 
Street, lUili Eing, Digbeth, Park Street, Chapel i 
Sti-eet, Colesliill Street, Broad Street, Summer 
Lane, Pinfold Street, and other minor, but im- 
proving, situations." * 

The ancient hall of the gild, which then stood 
at some dist^uico from tlie town, in tlie Hales 
Owen and Stourbridge Road, (now calletl Xew 
Street,) was first used as a scliool room. It was j 
built of wood and plaster, like most of the 
buildings of that period. In one of tlie windows 
was blazoned the figure of Edmund Lord Ffn-crs, 

(who ha<l married the heiress of the house of 
i'MTmingham, and appears to have been a bene- 
factor to the gild,) with his arms empaling Dclk- 
mtpf and those ui Pvrrot empaling Bt/ru7iy of 
Stafford of Grafton, and of Birmingham. 

In 1707 tliis buihling had become woni-out, 
having stood about thix^e hundred and twenty 
years, and was taken down to make wny for a 
more pretending edifice. The style of the now 
building, which occupied three sides of a i]\\:n\- 
ningle, Wiis somewhat heavy, on account of the 
wings being ])rought too near to the stn-ct. In the 
centre of the building was a tower ornamentr-d 

lliiltiMi, lixtli chHUoii, i>i>. ::W-K. 

with what Hutton calls a "sleeping figure" of 
Edward the Sixth, and containing a dock and 
bell. On the balustrade was placed, in 1756, a 
row of vases, at the same time that St. Philip's 
Church was similarly ornamented. In front of 
the building were erected " half a do7.en dreadful 
pillars . . . which, like so many ovei^grown 
giants, marshalled in battalia, guarded the entrance 
that the boys wished to shun ; and which, being 
sufficiently tarnished with Birmingham smoke, 
might have become dangerous to pregnancy."* 
T1m>s(^ " frightful monstrosities " were afterwanle 
removed, whether from such fears as Hutton 
suggests, we cannot tell. 

In the latter part of the i-cign of Charles II, 
certain dillenuices occurred among the governors, 
and a party of them surrendered the charter of the 
school into the hands of the king, and n new one 
was granted by rlame^ II, on the twentieth of 
I'Vbruary, 1 085. Tin? remainder of the goveniers 
thus ejected, commenced ))roceedings in Cliancery 
for the recovery of the orhjinul charter, and, six years 
after, ol>tainod a decree reinstating them in their 
functions, annulling the new charter, and restoring 
and confirming the older one. In 1723 the lx)nl 
('hancellor issued a commission to inspect the 
eon(Uu?t of the govenioiv; and, as the latter dis- 
puted the validity of the commission, the matter 
was heaixl in Hilary Term, 1725, when the Court 
decided against the governors. The original seal 
was, about this time, discanlt'd, and that of the 
ahrnr/dted ehartor adopted. The old one was lost 
but has since been discovered in the jwsse^sion of 
a Mr. 15eale of Leicester, and wjis ]»iuvhasod by 
order of the baililf, »luly 4th, 1801, for tlio rnnn 
of two guineas. 

In 1G82 th<! eminent AVilliam AVolIaston, 
author of an able, work entitled ** The Religion of 
Natun? l)<'Iineat(d " (published in 1722), hold the 
«)fii(:e of Usher in this school. Ho was bom 
:\Iarch 2Gth, 1659, and dicnl Octoljer 29th, 1724. 

*' Amongst the oh I customs of the school, 
UH^ntinu maybe made of the 'orationH' which 



(IUJu<yd infat^imikfrmn the mginal, in it*f jHmtssrirm of John Sujfuht, Ki^q J 


In Two Days and a half; begins Mtfy the 

24th, 1731. 

SETSout from the Swan-Inn in Birmin^ham^ 
every Mtftf^tf)^atfixaClockinthe Morning, 
through fi^arwick, Banbwry and Aifihury^ 
to the Red Lion Inn In AlderfgaU ftreeU London^ 
every Wednffday Morning: And returns from 
the faid Red Hon Inn every lburjd<tf Morning 
at five a CJook the fame Way to the Jw^ff-Z^^ 
in Sirmingbam every Saturday ^ at a 1 Shillings 
each PafTcnger, and 1 8 Shilhngs from W^ wVi, 
who has liberry tocarry 14 Pounds in Weig^hr, 
and all above to pay One Fenvy a Pound. 
Perform d (if God permir) 

By Nicholas RothwelL 

The Weekly Wjgjpn fes out every T^fimj fram the N^g^uHtcd m 
Bmuu^ham. tothc Re6 Lion fen ajctt/^id, every Satwd^'jk ^n^t rttMrns 
fn^m th€ jmd im cvc?y MmJt^^ tf ih JiJagg^-JUcad m J^rmin^ h^tm cvf ijf 

Noce. 2fj the fdd Nichols RochwcU (U Wirw ick, ad Tcrfons may k fnr^ 
m^^^/Oha *£j Coach, Chmfft. Chifu ^Htqrfi^ 'Mih 41 Mcurnmg Chd4.h 
\^f^ d/eZ/^rfet, ia^nj Fart 9J Cr^A itruun^ n ▼tfiwoiM^ R(^u\ . A%1\ 



trUu Cluirlties oi filnjtittgli4iiu| foriuorly dolivprefl every 5tli Xovemlicr, at 
tbeHiM CniHs/ a« late as t ho ymr 1700. Thr 
t'UsUmi of * barring out ' ftl«o pnivailml in the 
ScluxiJj till a riot of tx soriuus natnn.^ occiirruU in 
1667, whfc?n tlie builtlinj; waa besiegcil an<] tit^rt'oJy 
defendod ; this led to the al>wnilonnient of tho 
practice, though remnants of it remained for many 

Tho further hi*§tory of this institution \nll h^ 
told in a future chapter, at a later period in the 
I Tuptory of the town, lUJ we are anxifuis to avoid 
^ftutieipfttin<; the story of tho growth of iV^e/vt Bir- 
niinghaia And we may her© observe, tliat we 
have endeavoured in the present work, to allow 
the liifltory of the town to iinfohl itself gradually, 
in the eourse of a consecutivii narrative, rather 
than (as is usual in local history and topography) 
to break it up into a series of disjointed thapters 
and descriptions of the various institutions of the 

In the year 1724 was ereeted, on the eastern 
eide of the jjleasaut cburchyanl suntnmdin^ 8t* 
Philip's, the Bhie Coat Charity Kchfiol. Tho 
object of this excellent institutifiu was t^ afford 
orphans, mui tho children of thi- prtor, clotlifng, 
niMintenancc, a good elementary edncatiun, ami 
religious instruction according to the princijties 
of the (liui-ch of England, ^Mien tirst ei^^cted, 
tis will l>e seen from Westley 8 Prosi>cct of 8t, 
Philip's^ it was Inii a small, plain and unpwtend- 
inj^ building, compai'ed with that of the present 
day. It was greatly enlarged and imjiroved in 
1794, (at an expense of £2,800), when the present 
Jton© front was added, but the northern angle did 
not receive its present stone facing until a later 
date. Although not pretend injj h* any groat 
degree of beauty, the building, says ^Ir. Bates, 
"ia remarkable for chasteness of sty In and pro- 
priety of arrangement ; '* and when seen fmm the 
churchyard, with an intervening screen of foliage, 
it ia by no means out of hannony \^ith it^ present 
surroimdings. The only ornaments are two stone 
figures placed over the main entrance, of a boy 

* MS, Note by Ur. W. BaAm. 

and girl, ** habit^xl in tho tpuiini ct>stume of tl 
sclionl/' These ligures were executi^d in 1770 
^Ir. Edwaixl Grubb, (at tlmt time a I'esidcDt i 
this town*), the cost Imiv^ defmyed by a volii 
tary suliscription. (Jf these works of a lo 
senlpttjr, Hutton says '* they are extscuted with I 
degree of excellence that a Koman stAtum^' wotil 
not have blushed to own." 

** This artiiicial family,*' says onr historii 
** consists of about two hundred scholars of lin 
sexes, over which pn^side a governor and govt 
ness, both single. Behind the apartments k : 
!ai"ge area, appropriate for tlio amusement of the 
infant race, ntvciissary as then* food. Great 
coruni is preserved in this little society, who 
supported by annual contribution, ami by coll« 
tions made after sermons twicje a your. 

** At fouiieen, the children are remove<l Uifco I 
commnzvial world, and often actiuire an afHuend 
that enables tlaem to support that foimdation whic 
formerly sujiported them.** t 

The children, (as indic^ited liy the name of th 
institution), are clotheil uniformly in blue ; 
dress of the boys recalling the prevailmg costniif 
of a century ago ; their swallow -tailed coats, tuuH 
caps, kneedii'^:'echi*-S '^^^^^ ^^^'^^*5 stockings, ph'j^imtiiij 
an excewlingly ijuaint, old world tigtirc in tb 
tliri>nged ^^tivet^ of modem Rirmitighmm. AbfW 
twenty of llie children are su|)ix)rted by a btniue 
made in 1690, by (Jeorge Fenthaui, a ninrcer 
the town* lliese are distiugtushed from the 
by being clotlied in (/tf^m iiistwid of bbie. 
present lunuial incouie is abotit i:5,000, 

** It is worthy of remark,** says Huttou, *• tha 
thos(^ institutions which are immediately upheJ4 
by the tcmporiu*y hainl of tho giver fhiurish i^ 
continual spring, and l»econie real iK^nefits 
society ; wliili? those which enjoy a per[»etafl 
income, niM often tinctured with supinone^s and 
dwindle into obscurity. The first usually answeij 
the purpose of the living, the last seldom that 
the dead." 

* He tli«*«l at Srmtford^n^ATon, Ai»riJ, Mid. 

Tb« CliArltiM of Iltnalii|;hAUi. j 



From A sunrey of our two fn5i* school a, we 
KHij perhaps with propriety f^liince m^xi at the 
|in>\igjun amde iii byegone days for tho mrpport 
luid maiut«imEiCL« of out }>oon 

Plerioiia to the dissoliitiuu of tlu^ juinifusitnu's, 
tin? burjicTi of maiutJuniBg the poor nhieMy 
lay upoci tho reUgioiis housed. Thi) greater part 
of the riches of tho t'ountry were in tha hands of 
Uvt monk, and, tilthough it is eertam that the 
liability di^peiuswl hospitality to the poor moro 
libenlly than id later timed, yet^ in c-onse^iUiiuce 
of the ijfiuraiJDe^s With which thoir wstuhliMhitients 
wejv stratiertfil, and tho Bniallness of thoir reveniu^s 
ill iHnifpfiri»o» with thuHtt of the eL-Ldeaiastic, it 
wm to the ktter, rath<^r than Uy tho former, that 
llit* poor looke^l for vvlmi and HUpjK»rt, 

•*W»en ilie Te%ioiia hoiises, and all thoir 

orty, in 1536, fell a saerifiee to the vinfli<d.iv«' 

lb of Hpury Ylih." Button tells m, 'nlw 

. |KKi» lost their dependence, and as want knows 

I no Iait, robbery l»ecaine frei^uentt justice called 

I laodly for punisilunont, and the hungry for bread ; 

wbidi fCf^ve rise, in thti rpign of (Jfuecn Klizabftli, 

to tliiit most wtfcllent iuHtittition, of erecting 

( cvi II into a distint't fraternity, and 

loLij^. ^ j!ii to support thyir own members." 

With ilm admirable system of parochial relief, 

U*n nocifflBity for the affUctetl poor to wander 

away from their home* to seek pity and 

riiUef elsewhere, no longer existed; "therefore 

ti h difficult to assign a reason," adds Huttoii 

i, •* why the blind should go abroad to 

countries, or the nmn without feei to 

Bat although the parochial law Wixs institute<l 
tn tbn sixteenth century, workhoti^ts did not 
booomo gimeml until tht^ seeund decade of the 
ei^li&eeDih ; and that of Birmingham was not 
encicd imtil 1T«}3. It was a pkin subatantiid 
hQskUng, aituated at the lower end of Lichfield 
Stnoi, (bciwisen that stret^t and Bteelhouse lane), 
aid WM efoctad at a cost of XI, 173 3s. 5d. At 
a later pefiod two wing» wrre adtled ; the /«//, in 
liM^otH cuit of XIOU, iUK an infirmary; and 

tho rujhi, in 1779, at a cost of ii700, as a place 
for labour. 

Our illustration shown the huildinji^ with buth 
these wings added, as given in the first edition of 
Htitton's llistory, at which period, says that 
historian, *' tlie stranger wordd rather suppose 
[it J was the residence of a gentleumu than of 
six hundred paupoi-s." 

Uu Westley's Plan, tlie reader will see marked, 
at tho lower end of 8teelhouse Lane, an Alms- 
house. This was one of the first of the vulniible 
institutions of this kind endowed out of the fundt* 
pro V it led liy the Charity kno\\Ti w^ hitch' h IViut, 

The Charities of Lench and others, com ui only 
allied Lench 's Trust, ** stand lirst among the 
Kinningham churities, being both the most 
ancient^ ami i\i the present time the most actively 
ti Ireful. William Lench, by a deed dateil tlie 
11 th i4 Mart'h, In the 17th year of the reign of 
Henry \'11L (/.r., in 1526), placed various pRv 
perties in llirmingham and the immediate neigli- 
Ijonrhood, in tlie hands of a certain number <>f 
fer>iTei's, and ordered that the rent^ and profits uf 
the premises sliouhl be applied ' for the repairing 
the ruinous ways aii<l bridges in aud about the 
said town of Itirminghani, wliere it should want, 
and for default of such uses sliould bestow the 
rents and profits of the premises to the poor living 
witVdn the Kiid town, whei^ there should ]»e mo-^it 
need, acconling to the appointment and dispotiition 
of the said feottees for the time !jeing, or to the 
major part i^f them, or to other pious u^^es, acconb 
ing to the like discretion and apjjouitment.* " 

In a very interesting account of this Cliarity,* 
Mr. Touhuin Smith puints out that it is in reality 
a GUd, that the objecU for which it was originally 
endowed were tho same as those sought to be 
accomplished by the Giltls, and that the disguise 
under wliich it was concealed, or, in otlier words, 
the fact of iU not being adled a gild, saved it 
horn sharing the fate of the Gilds and other more 
important religious endowments. 

ToruMfX 8vmi : ' ULrtitlimhniu Mi»n rtjul N»mo»/' 



[Tlu' I'linrltlB* «r Blriulagluini. 

Early in the roign of Elirjibeth, (Lench's 
Charity having then l:>eeii established about forty 
yoars,) William Colmore gave an annuity or 
yearly rent-charge of 10*., derivod from a mes- 
iuage in Corn Cheaping, near to the upper comer 
of Moor Street aliit^ Mole Street, to the feoffees 
of Lench^s land, and wiUexl that the same annuity 
ahould be disposed of **afi the lands and 
tenement* railed lunch's lantl ; and that 5/f. of 
the said 10^, should he given for the relief of the 
poor of Birniingbani, yearly, on Good Friday." 

In the latter half of the 16th ecntury William 
Wiixam, fnnncrly rt^ctor of the parish elmnli, 
gave a tenement in Bpicer's or Mercer's Street^ tbe 
rents and profits of which weiv. to be tlistributed 
among the poor of tlie parish, uecorditig to tlio 
disci-etion of the feoffees. 

In the thiitl year of the reign of Charles I., an 
inq^iiisifeion was taken at Binuinglmra under a 
commission of charitable uses; and the Coni- 
misioners having found that some of the leasee in 
Lenciris trust ha<l heen impn^vidently grunted, 
dee reed that they shouid 1«e void, ami that they 
ahould be .surrendered within a ct*rtain time, and 
that new lease.^ should lie iiiiule f(»r IcmjH not ex- 
ceeding 21 year}*. Thi^y further lU-creed that the 
number of feollees should in future be not less 
than 14, *'aud tliose of the most honest and suf- 
ficient inhahirant8 of thr- said town.*' 

( Mil i»f these fumls an ahiishoutie was built in 
iJigbetli, j>robably at alx)Ut the same period as 
that of 8ir Thnmas Holte, at AmI^ui. This was 
the Jirat of Leneh's Almshouses, anil stood until 
1 765, at which date the pi-eraises were let on a 
hu i] ding lei\se. I n 1 6 9 1 , t h e a 1 msh on se, together 
with the lands belonging to the Trust, — a croft 
called the Bellrope Crijft, (lying between the 
Binges and the way between New Street and the 
Fi^'e Wayn) ; a messuage or croft in Moor Streot ; 
and another croft near W^almer Ltme, (afterwards 
called Lancaster Street,) — were conveyed to the 
new trustees. The trusts of t]ie Bellrope Croft 
were stiit-ed to be **to pay or to permit the 
churchwardens of St, Martin's Church to receiye 

all the rents and profits thereof, to be employe 
and disposed by them for buying belbropes fd 
the said church, and keeping the same in or 
from time to timeJ' 

The i^ccond block of Ahnshouse waa probah 
orex^tcd immediately after this transfer, on 
" croft near Wftlmer Lane, '* then pleasant 
situated on the outskirts of tbe town. Ffi 
tbeir doors or windows the inmates could enjo 
one of the fairest prospects of which our deligh 
fid county could lK>ast, even in those early dayi 
when lilaek, sniokiiig chimneys wi^re fewer, an 
tbe limits of the domain of Vjriek and mor 
nuich more confined than nowadays. Away on 
tbe left eould be seen in llie distance the gent 
rising eminenee of Jiarr-heacou, and the pie 
hill on which Oscoti College now stands. Kear 
and rather more to the riglit, would be stsen 
niimiret-cnjwned towers of Aston Hall, and tfc 
tall, gmceful spire of the pretty village chur 
rising from t!ie midst of a grove of trees ; si 
further to the right, (almost In the middle of th*^ 
prosi>ect,) the village of Knlington, crowning the 
little eminence called tiravelly IliU, and behii 
it the well-woodtHl park of Sutton Cold^eld ; an 
away to the right migbl thr^n be seen tlio heautifa 
spire of Coloshill Church, This almshouse 
indeed a pleasant harbour of refuge for tlie age 
poor, weary and worn with Uie battle of Ufa 
where they might end their days in peacef 
retirement*, away fmiii the biiay hive in wl 
they had tniletl durin;j; their earlier yearsL 

liut the town ganv, and ere long sunxmnde 
tbe little group of almshouses; tlie furnaces of 
Kettle's steebhouses sent forth smoke to dou 
the prospect, and, by and by, rows of hou 
sprang up in Walmer Lane to block it ou 

The later history of this important chant} wi 
be given in a future chapter. 

In 1690 (by a will dated 24th of AprU in Uw 
year) George Fentham devised a considerable poJ 
tion of his y>ropertv, out of the procoe«U of wiiic 
ten poor widows were to be clothed, and a 

» OoclUw ci Blnnhigliftifi. 1 



mnnbor of poor children were to be taught to 
"know their letters, spell, ami read English," 

'* The seventeeth century »'* says a writer on the 
toed cbariteSf **seoiiis to have been most prolific 
of charitable f oundationa ; and as u pruuf that, up 
to that tiiue, and for a good while after, the 
chanties of Birmingham, at any rate, were jutli- 
doualy njanaged, and that they not only in general 

•wt^ried the end the donors had in view, hut 
► stimulaUxi (>them to like deeils of bem-volejici'. 

The founder of this valuable chanty was a 
woollen draper of this town ; living and keeping 
his sluip (for tliose were not the days of country 
residences for tradesmen) in a passage leading 
from Corn Cheap ing to J^pice^d Street, These 
buildings have long since been cleared away, and 
have given pLice to the fine open space called the 
Bull King. In religion, he was a Unitarian, or, 
to speak more correctly, a Presbyterian ; and 
ti><*k an active part nn the ^ide \d tlio non-juring 



SJi m: ^mM 

»Jl may be mentioned that most of thuse who 
fottnded cliarities at that time were conci^nud in 
one way or other in the ninnageruejit of the charities 
H previously existing." In 1697 Creorge Jackson^ 
(who IukI previously held tlie j^iosition of trustee 
of Kykuppe*ft Gift,) died, and by his will, pro- 
fldad ** for the aetting and putting forth Appren- 
tw?i* yearwlrv two ot more (si the male children of 
the poore-^ sivrt of the housekeepers and 
\k\A liveing within the Towne parisli and 
Xofilithip of Birminghas is doe not 

i**ifiv«» coUcsciun of or from tn*' said Towne or 

TiiK r>Ln woaKUorHK. 

ministers who wi i*h eji-cted in the reign of 
Charles H. lie was one of i\\v oripjinal trustees 
of the Old Meeting House {the services at which 
he regidarly attemled), and las remains were 
interred in the burial-ground attached to that 
place of worship. 

The following extract from lus will ex[ilaLna 
the object of the charity : — 

ITEM I givfl and di?vi«tj All my houses tenemts and 
lifre<htamt8 with the o|tptuiiLvs «cttuatc in Deritend in 
the piLiifi^h oi A»toD JTixta Birminghftin in the snid 
Coiititye of Warwick with dl the oiithoitst^s Mifiws bxillil- 
inp« ynrds ^rrU-iiHi hprrflitimit^ nnil j»pfiitiHit.'**}< lht*n»iiriti> 
beloDgiag untu Kichard Scott the elder of fiinainghuri 



ITbe ChKiitirt <%t fiimiinghftm. 

Linnen Dmj>er Ambrose Foxall of Birmingliiim aforeaaiil 
I'litler Willinm (tii+^'^t of BinniiTglmm aforeHfliil MHltat<»T 
William Collins of Biriuiu^hRm aforesaid Mercer Jolin 
Eogiera of PiinuinghaTii aforisuid Mei-oer Georj^o "Wills of 
Biniiinghflin nforesaid Siidler John Bak*?r of Binuinjiifhmii 
nforesftid Tall owe fhandlv^r Jolm Foxnll of Rirminglmm 
. afon^Kaid Ironinonf^er Tlioiim.« Warren of Hirmingknm 
^ aforesayd Sailler Jnmes liOwis of Bimiingliam afore.mid 
Boddvf^.s Maker Joliii Gtslxirne of Birmingham ufore.iairl 
Met'cer Kicbard Seott tbe younger of Birnuni^hiini afore- 
said Linnen Di-aper and Abraham Fnxall of Binningbum 
ttfoiewiid Ironmonger and nnto tbfir he'un ami Arwigtiea 
for ever NEVEFiTHELKSSE upon special Trnst and con- 
fidence in them resposed that tbey the said Kit banl Scott 
tbe elder Ambrose Foiall, William Guest William Collins, 
John Rogers George Wills, John Baker, ,lohn Foxall 
Thomas Warren James Lewis John GinlKinie Riebiird 
Scott the younger k Abraham Foxall tbeir b^ires a^jd 
(msignes and every of them shall and will at all times 
for ever hereafter manage and improve the said hou8«s 
and ^M^mises to the beat ml vantage tb^y can and receive 
tbfl rents and proflits as the sameshall become due and |>ay- 
flbl e A n < 1 sb o 11 a n d wi U y earey k And e very yeare i m pi oy an d 
dispost* of the same to Kneh uses and in snrb manner as is 
hereafter inenconud tliat is to say that theythefwiiLl Hitbnrrl 
Scott the ebler Ambrose Foxall Willian^ Gurht William 
Collins John Kogenj Gei»rge Wills John BaktT .b>hn 
Foxall ThomaH Wiirreu James Lewis John (tUbom*? 
Kiebanl Scott the younger and Abniham Foxhall their 
h^iri^s k fljwignes and every of tbeni shall und will 
yearelye and even* yeAre for ever hereafter apply order 
and disiKtse of all and every tbe clear yearelye rents and 
proJIitts of all tbe said bouiies or tenemts ami pemisea 
with the ttppturic'e« (taxes nt'cessarye repairs expensea 
and other contingent charges in managcing this Tnini 
being lii^t ]>ftyd and ib-^lncted) To and for tbe setting 
and putting forth Apprentice yeareley two or more of the 
male children of such ol the poorest sort of the honse- 
keepijrs and iuhabitanta liveing within the Towne parish 
and l.ordabip of Birmingham aforesaid as doe not receive 
collection of or from the said Towne or parish of 
Birmingham aforesaid AND my Will in that for the 
l^Hter pontinneance of the Haid tenemta with the 
iipptnncea in jitrsona titt to manage and dis[KiHe of 
the same to and for the intents and purix)ses aforesaid 
That whenever it shall happen that the grcrtter nirmhi-r 
of them the said Richard H^^ott the. ebler Amhrose 
Foxall William GiieKt Williams Collins John Rogers 
George Wils John H:ikvv John Foxall Tlionms Warren 
James Lrwis John tJisbome Richard Seott the younger 
and Abrabam Foxall dye or de[nirt out of the Town<' 
and Pari Kb of Birmingham aforesayd soe that there ah nil 
not be above the number of three at an/ time lividng 
That then such three suniveing Trustees shall within 
tbri'c monlhes next after they ^ball be redmed to tlnit 
numlw'r as aforesaid -.onvey setle anil aiwure tbe said 
tenements and pemises njion themselves and tenue more 
KUbstanliai and honest Inhabitants in Binniiigham afore- 
said and soe from time to tirat' for ever In^reafter as oft 
M the cas< soe happens. 

Tbe premises thiM ili^vised were ori|?inally oi 
tlie value of £10 2*^. per aiiimju, iit which tbo| 
remainod until tbe year 1718, wbmi the propert| 
iHfcame very dilapirfatefl. From im item in Uu 
accounts of tliis j^riod, of 128. 2d *' \m\u 
labourers for drink," it would apjM»ar that the 
repaid dune to them were somewhat i^xteiisiri 
and that the Inbonrers were numer«5nt*. 

The frdlowinj4 iteras in the yearns mM^onnt^ wil 

probably inten^«t our readers : — 

£ J. 

Bd. Mr. llooke for copieing the will ...... 6 

Pii. for a book to keep tb<* luvompt — . 3 
KM, for a commou fienl for ye netting out 

of boys . ,-.0 4 

Fd. Patt furnpairs ,.. . u 1 

Pd. itt a meeting ..,.», .. 1 

18th July. Pd, to Hubert Banner with hift 

rtpprentiso... ....,, ....,..,,. 2 10 

ff ,, IM. Mr. Hooko for indcnturefi ...... 6 

,, y, Expences lit binding ,. S 

Mr. Chrii^topher Hiwke» w))ade name ocrura twifl 

in the above entry, was solicitor to the chanty fro| 

ita foundation to IT4G. The it^mi of **exiH'in' 

at binding" refers dotibtless to tbat thii'st whic] 

the formularies attending the binding of appren- 

tices seem id way a to have engendertnl, renderin 

it necessary for that important bu&ine^s to 

trauBacted at the tavern rathur thmi in thu 

lawyer's ollice. It may be inlereiiting ki 

readers to knctw tlte names of tbe youths wj 

first benefited by the iirovisions of the worthy Kt 

conformist's charity. Some of tlio trades to wl 

they were appreuticed have disappeared altogethJ 

from aniongat us. The names and other |>arlicuL 

are given in tbe acconntsuf the charity as follows H 

John Hunt, lile entt«r» apprenticed to Kicliartl ]^nr 

Samuel Bentley, whitesmith, 
Humphrey Wyrley, weaver, 
Benjamin FieM, tow dresser 

Joseph Warren, knife cutler 
Michael Hope, knife cutler 
George Bagnalli brickmakfr 
Thonms Cooiwr, smith 
Wnu, ftou of Eobert , , 

Gilbert, of Per- r^''"-^'n 

ington (the old 
spelling of r>erit- 
emi), Idaid forger 

nipper mnktr 

Robert Banm 
John Hay wo 
William Sb<^ 

l»anl, of Kia 

Win. nreM\t 
Wm, Bannijsti 
Thomas Knol| 
Wm, EeciU. 

Wm. Hunt, 
of Derin 

^wlloliiMonltiBinnmgKciiii.1 OLH ANT* XKW B1KMIN<tHAM. 


*\%r bouse lit which the " hiii<lirig' look place 
ia the earlier ymr^ of the charity appears from 
llie acccmnti to have been that kept by Charles 
Freutli, calW ''The Bell," in Philip Street, 
bifllfa: known, howcveTt to the tow unpeople as 
•^Frteth'a Coffc© Uouse/* lliis Charles Freeth 
WHS the father of tlio quaint old verse-maker who 
ityJed himself, and was known to uthors as, 
*• Pijci Frw-th," of whom we shall have more to 
my hereiiftcr, *' Charles Fi*eeth," says tlie wnter 
of tlie artieleu on the chanties referred to abi>%^e^ 
•*ucvrT lost an opportunity of summoning the 
tntJiteea, and the tnistcea on the other hand 
nerer lo«i an opportunity of repairing to the 
hofiidry of the father of lite funiuU8 puhlican 

poijt. Tliey seem to hare been meny meetings 
those at the * Bell/ We wonder if Boskerville, 
who at that time taiif^ht writing in the Bull 
Bing dose by, and who, as we learn from Hntton, 
was * aaiti to liiive written an excellent luind,* 
was erer of the party." 

lint apan from the meny-making aspect of this 
chttiity, it would appear tu have proved exceed- 
ingly useful in the town, and no doubt has, from 
time to time, been inatmmental in teaching an 
occupation hy which they might benefit the town 
in which they have lived, to many who might 
otherwise have become a burtien to the town, 
and possibly even worse than a burden^ — a curse 
iiii^t'«?ad of a blessing to their fellow-men. 


K|U^ ▼ii'lt t*» E<1itmiul H<*clor^Carlyl<' tm Juhumin— «Jtjlifi>ion's eajilfst eniiajH— Hiti tFatiJ^Liilioii i>r Lt>bo\ yotfai/t to Abj/asinia — 
Y* JWfc»i«tdmcc^Tj-ii«"f4i of '• Jt>lirjttitie*ii*' In Ute Pn'ftuc— Jolinmon'ii ^^euinl visit t*j> tilniiLu^liatii. 

f 5f the* year 1733, Samuel Johnscm, having f oiuid 
ibek drtKlgt'ry of an ushership at Market Bosworth 
too irksome for him t^i bear, accepted an invila- 
tif»o ffora his friend, Kdmund Hector, a ^uigeon, 
**io imsfl sotnc time with him at Birmingham, as 
his guei^t, at the hoiitte of ^^fr. Warren, vvitli wlitjm 
Mr, Hectur hxlged and huiuded.''* Whether 
Johns(»n liftd ever visited Bii-mingham pi'evioUHly 
wtj do not knnw. It it* probublc, however — judg- 
ing frotu the Uttoxeter episode, related by Jolm- 
tn HeiiT)' Whitet — that ho had occaaionalJy 
ic<ioins{Mtiie%i his father on his journeys t>o Bir- 
ntn market A portrait of him at this 
U thus given by Carlyle : — *' Boyhood is 
;,f ihi* ferula of i)edagogue waves harm 
*lhe fUgittiice : Samuel has stmggled up to 
itncQuili bnlk and yuuthhnijtl, wrestling with 
iTiwioo and FoTorty nil the way ; which two con- 
tame dtll hk companinnB. » » . A rugged 

* H44wfcLl. . \Af(t uf Joliuiun. 

wild man of llie desert, awakened to the feeling 
of himself ; proud fis the proudest, poor as the 
poort^st ; slfiieally shut up, silently enduring the 
incimihle : what a wuild of blackest gluom, witli 
8Uli-glcams iitid pale, leurful moongleams, and 
llickerinys of a eele^jtial and an infernal splendour, 
was this that now opened for hiui ! But the 
weather is wintry ; and the toes of the m;ut ai-e 
looking thnaigh liis shoes. His muddy features 
gi*ow t/f ji purple Mud sea-green colour ; a Hood of 
bbick indignation nnmtling beneath. A trucu- 
lent, raw-boned ligure I Meat he hae probably 
little ; hope he has le.^s : his feet, as we gaid, 
have come into broth erboi>d with the cobl mire,"* 
Mr. W^atTen, lulmund Hector's lantliord, was 
thi? lirst establishe<l bookseller in Birmingham, 
and tiJiding imder the rough exterior of the ex- 
usher such literary culture and true genius as 
promised to be of great use to him (Warren being 

•CAiLYti : Crltl«nJ and MU»m11jui«oiui EiMtjrs IPopulAT EdtttonJ. 
Vol. it 1072. Essay on Bo9^*tl't li/t oif Joktkao^t yp. 94^. 

at that time, acconling to Boswell, the propiietor 
of a newspaper), bpcatne very attentive to John- 
son. Mr. Warren's newspaper wotikl bo the first 
ever published in Birmingham (Bome years in 
Btlvaiice of AriA*ts G<tzdie)^ and wiw tlio oUl Bir- 
mlnghnm Journal^ of which a copy of one nnmber 
ipi still prcsi^rved at the oilice of the Dalljf Po^t 
In the pi^jjea of this little Jnunml appcni'ed the 
periodical essays of Samuel Johnson ] the pre- 
decessors of tin* Rttmhhr and Idler essays, which 
have, perhtips, tiiken the most distingnished place 
in literature of all his writings. Having hut slen- 
der means of subsistence, and at present scarcely 
any settled p!an uf life, Johnson determined to 
stay in BirniinghaTn for some considerable time, 
and, after six months' sojourn with Mr* Hector, 
he hired lodgings in another part of the town, at 
the house of a person named Jarvis^ — probably a 
relation of Mrs. Porter, whom he afterwanls mar- 
ried. Here he became Mt< plain ted with Mr. Porter, 
a mercer {hiifibsind of I he Mrs. Porter, above re- 
feiTed to), and with Mr. Taylor, of wli08*i inventions 
and later life wo .shall have to speak hereafter. 
There can l>c httlu doubt, however, that the chief 
attraction which Birmingham had for bim was, 
as Kossvell suggestis that of being tho b<ime of 
Mr. Hector, his old sclmolfellow and his deai^'st 
friend. Tlie interest which Mr. Warren, tho book- 
seller, took in Joliiison, led him to join with Mr. 
Hector in iir;.;ing upon the 3'ontjg strholar and 
essayist the rlesirabibty of uiidrrtaking the 
ti-anslation and abridgment of a ** Voyage Ui 
A by ss i n i a, " w ri 1 1 ei i by Lobo , a Portugn cse J esuib 
which Johnidon mentioned as having read In the 
Flinch with jdeasure while at Pembroke College. 
He agreed t<* < ommencc the work, and as no 
copy of the work could he procuivd in Birming- 
ham, he was compelled to borrow from the 
College Library the copy from wliich lio had 
first read the naniitive. For a while all went 
on well, and a portion of the work was soon 
in type, being printed by one Oaborn, who was 
Warren's printer, but **his constitutional ind*> 
lence soon prevailed," says iJnswell, and the 

work flagged. Mr. Hector, anxious for hii 
friend's credit in the world of letters, urge 
him to proceed with the work, and, knowing hij 
gentle nature whenever the well- being of a follow-^ 
creature was in question, represented to him that 
the printer coidd have no other employroeu 
until this book wiis finished, and that the 
man antl his family were suffering. This pie 
liad its desired eflbct^ and Johnson, althouj^ 
feeble and relaxed in body, exerted tho powen 
of his mind in the task of completing the work 
He lay in bed with the heavy quarto lief on 
him, and dictated the translation to Hector, whil^ 
the latter wrote it down. The picture of 
busy surgeon sitting patiently writing at John 
8on*8 bedside, in the intervals of his profession 
duties, is one of the most touching in all tli 
records of human friendship. 

With tho kind assistance of Hoctor, the 
was stton completed, and was puldished in 1733 
but in those ilays a book bearing a provLncii 
imprint stood hut a slender chance of 
favotirahly received, it boit; on the title page no 
evidence whatever of its Birmingham origin, bu 
went forth with a London imprint, a device ver 
common in those days. This was tlio first liter 
Work of the author who afterwards became tht 
clvief figure in the literary history of the eigliteent 
centtu'y. Boswell fliil not discover in tliis wot! 
any traces of the style which, he says ** marks \ 
subsequent writings with such peculiar excellence^ 
with so happy an union of force, vivacity, 
jiei^picuity/* But in the preface we deti'ct, bei 
and there^ the familiar mil of the Johnsonion"^ 
dialect, and though, observes his biogmjjher " use 
iiad not yet taught his wing a permanent and 
equable flight, there are parts of it which exhibit 
his best manner in full vigour.'* Years afterwardai 
Boswell tells ns, Edmund Burke expressed 
luni the great consideniblo delight with whic 
he hrst read several passages in this first examplel 
of the art of %vriting noble prefaces, of which 
Johnson was so great a master. It is more than 
probable that the recidleclion of thi» W(»rk of 

BMliolil)*ollillBir1ilil^£Umo OLD AKD NEW BIEMmGHAM. 


tnnslating Lobo'a narrative first suggested to 
Joboion tbe scene of the charmmg story of 

H Early in 1734, Johnson returned to Lichfield, 
^ni^jte appears (from a letter addressed by him 
|HMiH Edward Cave, the publisher of the now 
v^oenble GenUeman*s Magazine) to have again 
▼irited Birmingham in the autumn of the same 
j«ar. He reiiuests Cave to direct his reply " to 
8l Smitht to be left at the Castle, in Birmingham, 

convulsive starts and odd gesticulations, which 
tended to excite at once surprise and ridicule.** 
But with all these natural defects and external 
disadvantages, he possessed many rare qualities 
which weighed in his favour where personal 
appearance would have counted as nothing, Mrs. 
Porter appears to have been a woman of consider- 
able sensibOity, possessing, says Bos well, ** a 
superiority of understanding and talents ; *' and 
tho charm of Johnson's conversational powers, 


"^IVWwtckshire," It was diuing lliis second visit 
thai the acquaintance with Mrs. Porter ripened 
into affection. Miss Port4)r told Boswell that, 
whtn •Tohnson was first introduced to her mother, 
I *^ his jip|ii3iranc<? was very forbidding." He was 
f *' I«m ajid huik, so that hia immense structure of 
\i€mm was hideously striking to the eye, and the 
i«tts ol the scrofula were deeply visible. He als^j 
wme fate btfir, wlilcit was stmight and «ti(r, and 
i^ftmicft behind ; mid he often hail, seemingly, 

combined with bis real goodness of heaii, won 
her esteem and a flection. According to Garnck, 
she herseK possessed few personal attractions, but 
his judgment was probably a superficial one ; 
certainly she must have had considerable intel- 
lectual endowmente, and these were as great 
attractions for the scholarly suitor as Ms own 
wei"e for her. A story Is told concerning hia 
courtship which well exliibita his disregard for 
mere sentimental objections. The lady, it ia eaid^ 

OLD AND KEW BIRMINGHAM. tSMuuei Johnnon m Bimmgiuiin 

refused all his offers of marriage for a while, at 
the sainti time declining tu give any rea-^oii for 86 
doing. At ltt«t, yielding to liis urgent rei^ui^st to 
tell him why she still refmed, she said **an uncle 
of hers bad been hung, and ihe did not wish to 
bring disgrace on him.*' ** Is that all/' said 
Johnson ; " Wliy, though I have never had an 
uncle hiaif/y I have two or three unides wLo 
dr^rrird it^ — bo let^R get married, and say no 
more about that." 

Her objections having been removed, and 
she having signified her wiliingne-^s to aecept 

C>n the ninth of July, 1735, the couple 
out on horseback for I)erby, at which place thoj 
were to be married. Although they were, accord 
ing to J oh Uf' on 9 own statement, lovers m tt 
truest sense of the word, tlieir conduct towa 
each other, during this ante-nuptial tide, mu 
have appeariMl, to the casual observer, anything 
but affectionat-e. " Sir," said Johnson to Bosu'*?l] 
in speaking of thia ride niiuiy yeai^s afterwa 
**she had read the old romances, and had 
into l)cr head the fantastical notion that a woma 
of spirit should use her lover like a dog. So, sir,J 



of luB haud, he went to Lichfield to obtain hh 
mother's consent to the marriage, which, says 
Boswcllj he could not but be conaciouB was a very 
impmdent scheme, both on account of their 
disparity of years,* and her want of fortnne. 
But, adds his biographer, Mrs. Johnson know 
too well the ardour of her son^s temper, and was 
too tender a parent to oppose his inclinations. 
"Sir," said the doctor, years afterwar<l5, to 
Tophnm Beauclerc, **it was a love maniage on 
both sidea." 

* At ilie Mute of UU tiianiagu Juhoson wkm twenty '«»voii ycura of 
ig« ; Mm. Porti'f had JnaL coinfjlfte4 h«r forty-«1glith jenr 

at first she told me that I rode too fast, and sba 
coidd not keep up with me : and when I rode 
little slower, she passed me, and complained tha 
I lagged behindt I was not to be made the elav<i 
of cai*rice ; and I resolved to l>egin as I meant tq 
end. I therefore pushed on briskly, till I wa 
fairly out of her sight. The ix)ad lay hotweeu 
two hedges, so I w«is sure she could not miss it j 
and I contrived that she should soon coujo u( 
with me. When she did, I observed her to he in 

We must agree with Boswell tliat this wa» ** i 
singular beginning of connubial felicity,** but lli 

Alii • eirmUaglMin 0«jiett«.J 



isqael proved tliat it is not always the conipHant 
lorer whu bocomes the most affectionate husband, 
uid it may be supposed that Mrs, Johnson found 
in the manly tiBsolute bridegroom a faithful and 
losing partner, and, in the distinguished position 
which her husband afterwards* adiieved, met with 

I that rich reward which her wise choice so well 

' mt^nted. 

Of JohnjBon's future career it is not necessary 
that we should speak hc^re. Boswell's inimitable 
biography is now within the reach of the hum bio Bt 
lover of otir literature ; and if the reader would 

I know more of the struggling young scliolar 

I who became the greatest literary celebrity of the 
bieenih century, he cannot do better than 

malce the early acquaintance of that enchant- 
ing book, which will enable him to enter the 
circle of John8on*8 most intimate friends, to 
listen to his match] ess conversations, and to 
join the innnmemble host of ardent admimrs of 
the great lexicographer, critic, essayist, poet, 
and conversationalist, of whom it may aa truly 
be said, as he himself said of Oliver Gold- 
smith, *^ he left scarcely any style of writing 
tmtouched, and touched nothing tlml be did 
not adorn." 

Johnson visited Birmingham again, after he 
had became famous, but of that visit we shall 
have more to say in itn proper chronologica! place 
in our naiTative, 


JTm fi*Ufttt futd It* fival— Incoipomtiuji uf Ihr two Journjih— ExpenJtes of JoimiAllflLti in 174S— Appwimnt'e of the Town, from 1 7-11 to 
17W) — Lojral Cek*brmtioti»— AtnuiM!metit4i of the Pi'uplt*— Coi'k-ngbtiiig nt lJutldi+Hton Hall—TlieatriKftl EnterUluu^ents— M^'objinifal 
ud otU^ ExJiibitioiu. 

At the commencement of the fifth decade of 
the seventeenth century, Birmingham appears to 
huve been without a newspaper, Warren's Bir- 
nungham Journal had ceased to exist j and no 
new adventure had^ as yet, taken its place. In 
Um month of May, 1741, Mr. Thomas Aria, of 
X^ndoD, came to liirmingham in order to settle 
^the town as a printer, and to establish a weekly 
aal ; and for that purpose took a house in 
High Street, but, aa it was then inhabited, and 
he could not conveniently enter until Michaelmas, 
lie i«tumcd to London. During the interval be- 
tween bia tlxtt visit and his settlement in the 
town^ a Mr. Walker, having obtained informaliou 
of Mr. Arises intention, anticipated the publica- 
tioa of the Otueitct as will be seen by the follow- 
ing addreaa, printed by Mr. Aris in tlie first 
I titimb^r of his new journal : he says, 

»t the public ma^ not look on me as an 
\ta Hf. WaUier, as by the insinuation in 

his paper lie would have me supposed, 1 will beg 
leave tu state the case. 

** In the month of May la.'+t, I cuiue to Bir 
mingham in order to settle there as a Printer and 
Bookseller, aml^ with the advice of my friends, 
took the house I now live in, but it being then 
inhabited, I could not conveniently enter tOl 
Michaelmas last, so went back again to London ; 
during which time ilr. Walker, having got infor- 
mation i)f my intention, came hei-e and printed 
a Newspaper before I left London ; tlierefoi^, 1 
appeal to the public, to whom he has made his 
address in all the papers ho has yet published, to 
detenuine who is the fjpposer* And those gentle- 
men who are pleased to encourage me, may be 
assuretl that no pains shall be spai-ed to make the 
paper agreeable, luiving settled the best corre- 
spondent I possibly coidd in London for that 
purpose. T. Aris/* 

The first number of Arises new venture wa^ 


iAxiM'% BlnuUitfiiaiB OMctto. 

pubJislied on the I6th of Xovomber, 1741, imdor 
tJie title of Tht Binningham Gtizetief or the 
General Correspondent^ at the price of three-half- 
pence, and hearing a government stamp of one 
halfpenny. Like Cow per 's favourite evening 
companion, it was a " folio of four pages," very 
small pages indeed, the whole sheet being no 
larger than a single page of the Birmingham 
newspapers of to-day. There was very little of 
local news in it, its four pages being fiUod chiefly 
with the paragraphs of the London correspondent 
referred to in tlie propnetor's address, and adver- 

The two papers, Walker's and Aiis^s, were car- 
ried on in opposition for nearly two yeart?, until 
July, 1743, when, as will he seen from the sub- 
joined address, a compromise took place between 
the rival pubHshers ; Walker's journal was incor- 
porat^jd with its more successfid rival, which 
appeared at that date for the first time under the 
distinctive title of Arh'$ Bh-Diingham Gazette^ 
and was raised in price to two-pence \ the increase 
being explained by the proprietor in an address 
*♦ To the Rmders of this Paj>er," aa follows : 

** Gentlemen, — I am very sensible that to raise 
the price of any commodity is always both un- 
popular and hazardous ; and oven was it tuit so, 
the obligation you have laid me under, by your 
generous encouragement of this paper^ would he 
sufficient to deter me from any attempt to advance 
the price of it, was it in my power, consistent 
with my own preservation, to act otherwise. 

** But when I assure you it is not so, and that I 
have already lost a considerable sum by selling 
it at three half-pence, I flatter myself that no 
gentleman would take it amiss if I can't continue 
it at a price which, instead of serving, can only 
injure me. 

**That a great deal of money may be sunk in a very 
little time by a publication of this nature cannot 
seem strange to any one who considers tbat out of 
every paper one half-penny goes to the stamp 
office, and another to the person who sells it; 
that the paper it is printed on costs a farthing ; 

and that consequently no more than a farthing 
remains to defray the charges of composing, 
printing, London newspapers, ajid meeting, as 
far as Daventry, the Post, which last article 
very expensive, not to mention the expence 
our London correspondence* The truth is, 1 
no design originally of attempting the printing i 
Newspaper for tliree halfpence; but anothi 
paper being published at that price by Mr. Walke 
obliged me to submit to the same terms, thoug^ 
now we are both sufl^ciently convinced that 
were in the wrong, and think it high time to ( 
the opposition, and unite both papers in oni 
Tlierefore, for the future, there will be but thS 
paper printed, which will he iu conjunction ; an 
as the above is a true state of the case, I hop 
that those gentlemen who have hitherto honour 
me with their favours, for wliich I take this oppo 
t unity of returning my thanks, will not think th 
advance of one half-penny unreasonahltx But i 
order to make some amends for the addltionil 
half -penny, I shall, for the future, enlarge ttl 
pages in such a manner as to contain a great 
quantity of news than at present ; and the publS 
may depend tliat no pains or expence shall 
spared to render this paper as usefid and ente 
tainingas possible/^ 

The Gazette continued in the hands of its ong 
nator until hia death, which occurred in 176| 
and t^mained in the possession of various me 
bers of his family until 1789, when it became til 
property of Mr. Thomas Pearson. The fur 
history of this journal remains to be told at 
later period in the history of our local literatup 

A complete file of this venerable newapap 
from 1741, the year of its birth, to the pr^ 
time, is preserved at the publishing ofHco, and 
thus, for nearly a century and a half, we havo 
complete a record as can be obtained from tH 
columns of a newspaper of the growth and ap- 
pearance of the town, and of the life and doii 
of the people* From this remarkable filov 
which few parallels exist in the country, our abla_ 
townsman, Dr. J, A. Langford (who for aou 

i..^«ftti.Tawtt-im4760.) OLD AND NEW BIRMINGHAM, 


apiod the position of local editor of that 
hoB brought together such a coUection 
at ctxrione and interesting extracts respecting 
die tubitd, customs, amusements, and life of our 
iiioafton, and the changes which the town has un- 
dergone during the long period of the Gazette's 
•xist€Dce« as cannot fail to he of the utmost value 
to llie student of our local hiBtory, and will enable 
UB m theee pages to give a much fuUer picture of 

Temple Street, as we have seen in our last 
survey of the town, was already built upon ; 
but there were stiU houses in it which might 
be considered as pleasantly rural The follow- 
ing might at any rate be envied nowadays, 
even by the dwellers in our most picturesque 
suburbs. The date of the nlvertisoment is Decem- 
ber 5, 1743 : 

'*To be Sold and tmU'red upou at Lady-day next, a 

i£' jN^n 

I ill 



oiMniHiiininitn ' 

I -I. i 1 





THE OLD SQUAas. (Fr(mtkt priiilh^ W. Hwl/ry, ^"** > 

an*l Ms people in the eighteenth century 

aid have been possible without the assist- 

I of these invaluable records. 

From the ertracta given by Dr. L-angford from 

tl» llfil (en years' issues of the Gazette we will 

endeavoitr to obtain a glimpse at the doings of 

H otif aneestois at the date of the conunencement 

^M^Utt paper ; and perhaps it will be well to look 

^^B^ ftt th« bouses they lived in, and their sur- 


Lfti>ge Mestaage or Dwelling Hoii»e, situate id Teniplt*- 
Street, BinuiiighaiTi, in the Pofisessioii of Mr. Clmrks 
Mngenis, confining twelve Yards in the Fronti foiir 
Rooms oil a Floor, wialied and fronted both to the str«et 
afid Garden, good Ctllariug and Vaults^ Brow-houw! aiul 
Stable with an entire Garden walled, and the walla coTcred 
with Fruit Trefs, the Garden 12 Yards wide, and 60 Yards 
lon^ from the Front of the Honge, and extending 22 Yards 
wide for 26 Yards further^ together with a pleasant Terrace 
Wttlkj and Summer- House with Sashed Windows and 
Saah'd Doors, adjoining to the open Fitdds, and ooinmand* 
ing a ?ros|tect of four Miles Distance, and all D^oaaaary 
convanieDCcs. Likewise another House in the same Strott 
in the tenure of Mr, George Ortoa, with largo Shopa, 


OLD AND N^EW BIRMINGHAM. iAi.(,».i>«ortb.T»ini.iT«i.irM 


Qai^Q4, and Summer- Houso, pleflaantly Biiuntcd, com- 
maiidiug a go<jd Prospect ; and set at nm« Poitnds and ten 
fihilHfigs per auDum. 

** Enquire of Charles Meg^nis in Tomplc-S tract afofe- 

The late Mr. Toulmin Smith {to whose valuaTile 

research efi respecting the early history of the town 
we have previously rt^femjd) snya : ** I myself 
remember Temple Street in mtieh this state. My 
grandfather (Edward Smith) lived in a house 
there, the description of whicii prt^cisely cor- 
responds as to house and garden with this 
advertisement I well remember the 'Terrace 
Walk/ "* 

From, another advertisement, in the ihizcHe 
uf December 14, 1741, we learn that even in a 
coiiiparatively old thoroughfare like High Street 
I here was an inn (the original Hen and Chickens) 
with " a very good Bowling Green joining U\ it" 
Such an appendage to a house so situated proves 
that notwithstanding the number of courts and 
fdleys mentioned in the statement at the foot of 
Wt'stluy's Map^ there was as yet little of the 
overcrowding from which Birmingham, in common 
with all other large towns^ Rufferis at the prenent 

The next extract refers to a house in Lichfield 

Street, H spot in the very hoart of the 8<|Unlid 

dii^tiicl frnm which it is now pro]msed ttj clear 

all the present buildings, Yet^ at that time, ae 

Dr. Langford observes, *' the houses for the most 

jiart had gardens, and were the dwelling-places 

uf people whase descendants bave now to seek at 

Edgbaaton, Hands worth, or Erdington, for *the 

sweet place of tlowers/ as a poet calls a garden*" 

*'To be Sold, the Rcvenion of a Fre<!ljold Messuage, 
with Shops, Backside, and Garden, in Liclifietd Street, 
ai»r the Square, Birmingham, the Teuaut for Mfe being 
Dear ninety years olil,*' 

Even Dcritend and Edgbaaton Street, although 
in the older part of the town, coidd, in 1746, 
boast of bouses with gardens. On the 20th of 
October in that year, the local newspaper con- 
tained an advertisement of **a large House with 
a Brew-house, Shop, and a Pent-house for Shoeing 

• A C«atnfT of Blrraliagbaca IM%, (Flnt Sditkm.) Uet. 
Vol 1, p. H 

Horses under, and a large Gard^n,^' situated in 
the upper part of Deritend ; and in the same 
year was offered " a Good House in Edgbajston 
Street," with a good stable, garden, and othe 
conveniences ; candidates for the occupation 
this desirable residence being referred to ** Mr 
Sarah Lloyd, at the Slitting Mill," which ihd 
reader will find, on looking at Westley's ilap 
was situated at the back of Digboth, botweex 
tlie Upper and Lower Mill Lanes. 

New Street was at that time quite ruml, anr^ 
as Dr. Langford observes, •* abounded in gardena,1 
The present writer knew a gentleman, only 
cently deceased, who in his youth bad gleane 
in a cornfield adjoining the ui>per part of i^ 
and the editor of the ** Century of Birminghan 
Life*' tells of another gentleman, then livin 
I who had gathered blackberries in this part 
the town. It would not, therefore, appear 
' strange to either of those gentlemen na to 
I majority of Birmingham men and women noi 
I living, to read in the Gazette of ^fay 18, 1747^ 
! of a house to let in that shreeti '* with pro[ier 
Out-building, Gartlening, and other conveniences 
thereto belonging." 

The banks of the Ilea, near Deritend Bridge, 
would seem to have been at that time a plea&mt 
retreat One is inclined to envy the posseseor of 
so dehglitlul a town residt^nce as waa advertised 
to be let on the 16th of November, 1747, It fji 
described as ** a very good new-built House, four 
Rooms on a Floor, with a Brew-botise and Stable, 
and other conveniences, a very good Garden^ 
walled in^ and a Fuh Pond in it, mtnate very 
pleamni hj the Water 8ide^ near the Bridge, in 

Retuniing into the upper part of the town, \\v 
come to the Old Square, which at that time wa*» 
known simply ae the Square, This was the sit*? 
of the ancient Priory of St Thomas the Aj»o*tl*s, 
of the foundations of which some small remaint^ 
were still visible in the cellars on the south- 
eastern side of the Square, even as lat^j as 17«<0^ 
when Hutton wrote his hi«tory of tbi» town. Krw 



this pleasantly situateil spot might at that timo 
\m diaoemed the Rowley Hills, the villages of 
Oldburyi Smethwick, HandawoHh, Sutton Cold- 
field, Eniington, and 8aUle\% as well as most of the 
fcbuxhs on the southern Bide of the town* From 
the little print by AVestley, engraved on the 
corner of the " St Philip's " plate, it appears 
tlut a uniform range of houses had been built 
on the four sidea of t)je EMjuaie, the centre 
being enclosed and adorned with treca and dhnihs. 
Many of these houses still remain, although 
' lot the moit part altered and moderni^d. Some 
bsTe been pWtered and painted over, others 
hare an additional storey, othcn? have merely 
been newroofed with elates. The following 
adreitidement will give us some idea m to the 
■lipearance of these hoimes in 1748 ; 

To be Sold, two tijindsomc MeasuageSf v^ith & School 

Room, Warehouse, iin«l other Back-buildingSj in good 

Btffwir^ urith gom\ Gardena, and a large Piece of I^iid 

lytaig btbliid the ^aid Mesauagcs, &iitmtod in the Sqnun^ 

Lin BSnniaghiim, in the Holding of >fr. Siiuyrr Kud 

[Mr. Bwhlolcy. — Enqmne of Mr. Kisher, Attorney, in 

iMiifi|giitw • or of Mr Cnlcutt, Attornn\ tn DAventry. 

Oilier advertisements might bo <|UQted if space 
' wifuld [ienmt» to show bow many pleasantly 
I tritnated bouses might at that time be found in 
ill© very heart of the town ; as, fur instance, one 
l^ih a gai'dmi walVd round and other corwamtmceg 
in Moor Street \ another, with Brew-hoiige^ Gar- 
ffUtu, Stabien^ and all other Conoeaiences for a 
Family^ in Hij^fh Street ; an Inn in Lichtield 
I Strcei, triih a ipot of G-round near adjoinifuj for 
k a BoM^itig-Grmn ; and many others of a like 
chancier might be mentioned, if necessary, to 
wb0m the pleaimntly rural situation of the town 
at that time. Perhajis the bent idea of its 
apfinanmcG, with gardens and outhousea adjoin- 
ing many of the houses in the principal street^ 
may be obtained by a journey through one of 
rthe amaUer towns in the neighbourhood, such as 
f Cormtiy, Tamwortli, and Evesham, where houses 
•tmilarly nituated may be found at the present 

hm to the local eventa chronicled in the old 
sambefB of the Gazette, they are but few and 

far between, and we are compelled to believe, 
with Dr, Langford, that there were scarcely any 
events of a public nature worth recording. ** No 
police reportd^ no public meotings, no charitable 
appeals, no hterature, no popular educ^^tional 
inatitntiona, no popular lectures, no libraries, no 
news rooms, no penny readings, no Board of 
Guardians, no Town Council, no debates of Iwal 
senatt-s, no orations of local senators to read, no 
leading articles, for there were no local events 
about which to write. All seems to have been a 
dull, dead level of monotonous existence, varied 
by occasional cock-fights and other brutal sports." 
The only item of loi?al news containod in the 
lin^t number (Nov, 16, 1741) relates to the cele- 
bration of the birth-day of Admiral Vernon in 
Bii-mingham, November 14, **with all the Tokens 
of Regard due to that worthy Man." The morn- 
ing, we are told, was ushered in with the Clam- 
ming of the Bells,* and the day concluded with 
bonfires and drinking success to his Majesty's 

Loyal celebrations seem lo Lave been tlie prin- 
cipal events in oui- public life. The 1 1th of June, 
1742, (the first June after the establishment of 
the Guzttte^) the aniiiversary of the Accession of 
George Ih to the throne was " observed with the 
Ringing of Bells, and other Demonstrations of 
Joy," and the evening was concluded with ** Bon- 
tires, and drinking to the Healths of liis Majeaty 
and Royal Family, Success to his Majesty's 
Arms, and to the Healths of those Gentlemen 
who have appeared conspicuous in the Interest of 
their country," 

Our townsmen, as befitted the makers of imple- 
ments of warfare, seem to have manifested great 
interest in all events pertaining to our armies and 
their movements. The success of the allied forces 
against the French at Dettingon, in 1743, was 
celebrated in Birmingham with every token of 
jubilation; "the Bells of both our Churches," 
says the GuzHte of that date, ** were set to Ring- 
ing, at Noon there were several Discharges of Fire 

*i,€,t rtiigliiff tht whole peft] wlintiltiuimnulj. 



[Publio SventB, ITAl 1T»«J 

from the Soldiers, and the Evoning was concluded 
with Bonfires, niumitiation of Wintlows, and 
drinking Success to his Majesty's Anna." Tho 
retreat of the Pretender Charles Edward Stuart, 
and his forces, before the Duke of Cumberland, 
in 1745, (after they had taken Carlisle, and were 
marching on towards the heart of England) was 
also didj celebrated in a similar manner in Bir- 
mingham, the evening on which the news arrived 
being ** spent with the highest Demonstrations of 
Joy, as Bonfires, Illumination of Windows, giving 
Ale to the Populace, &c/* On tho 16th of AprO^ 
1746, the famous battle of Culloden was fought, 
and the rebellion finally cmslied. On receiving 
the news, we read, ** in every Face here appeared 
the greatest joy and loyalty, which were demon- 
strated by the Ringing of Bells, several Firing 
from the Companies of the Right Hf>n. the Lord 
Grower's Begimeut, and in the Evening by Bon- 
fires, Fireworks, giving great Quantities of Ale to 
the Populace, and an Illumination of Windows 
tliroughout the whole Town. The ninth of 
October, in the same year, was appointed as a day 
of general thanksgiving, ** for the suppression of 
the late unnatural KeWlion by tlie Defeat of tho 
Kebelft by Hid Royal Highness the Duke of Cum- 
Ijerland, at the Battle of Culloden," and was 
kept in Birmingham with a similar eirusion of 
loyalty ; the moniiiig being " usher'd in by the 
Ringing of Bells, which was continued till the 
Time of Divine Service ; ** in the evening the 
ilKiminatioB of windows is said to have " far 
exceeded what was ever known here before, the 
Windows of those Houses in the most remote 
Parts of the Town being filled with Candle ; " 
and the night was ** concluded with Bonfires (at 
several of which great Quantities of Ale were 
given to the Populace), Fii^e works, and all other 
Demonstration of Joy." 

The day of thanksgiving on account of the 
Peace of 1749 (April 25,) was observed here 
with more outward tokens of joy than had chamc- 
terized any previous celebration of the kind. The 
usual bell-ringing, illuminations, and boniiree were 

supplemented by displays, at two different pi 
of ** tho grandest Fireworks ever seen here, ooH 
slating of a great number of Lime and common 
Rockets, Wheels, Stars, Suns, <Sja, and at 
Conclusion of those at one of the Places, waa i 
Explosion of near 200 Rocketn at the 
Time;" and there was " an elegant Entertainme 
provided, at which were present a great niiml 
of Gentlemen. The reporter adJs, that ** during 
the whole Time of the Fireworks, we don't hear 
of any Misfortune that happen'd." 

From the advertisement pages of the 
numbers of the Gazette we may gather also a ; 
notes as to th^e amusmients of our ancestors, 
subject cannot, however, bo contemplated no 
days without a feeling of loathing and di^;u8t at 
the cruelty and brutality which seems to hare 
pervaded most of the popular sporta of that 
period* This aspect of the national pastimes do 
not seem to have troubled either the authoriti 
or the leaders of public opinion in the least. 
wi*athf ul ** leaders " commenting on the cruelty ^ 
cock-fightiug, bull'baiting, and dog-fighting are 1 
be found in the columns of these old newspapere^-^ 
no letters from cori^spondents burning %vith ri|^ 
teous indignation, — such events wei-e as it?gidar 
advertised as other amusements, and as ealu 
reported as wo now report a cricket or football 
match. A few of theee advertisements will 
suffice. It will be noticed that the place rao^t 
famous for these brutal exhibitions in thia lo 
was Duddeston Hall. The date of the 
advertisement is June, 1746. 

ThiB 13 to give Notice, —That there will be a Mi 
Cocks fought at Duddeston Hull, near Bimimghaii 
betwuct the Gentlemen of Warwickshire and Worcester- 
shire, for Four Guineas a Battle, and Forty Quiaeas 
Main. To weigh on Monday, the 9th of Jane, and 
the two following Days, 

Birmingham Cock Match, 1747.— -On Whit«an Mond^ 
the 8th of June, will be shewn at Duddeston Hall» ua 
Birmingham, in Warwickahire, Forty -one Cocks on 
Side, for a Mat^h to be fooght the three following Day 
betwixt the Gentlemen of Warwickshire, Worceatcrshiii 
and Shropshire, for Ten Guineas a Bnttle, and T^ 
Hundred the Odd Battle ; and also Twenty-oue Cocks < 
each Side for bye Battles, which Bye Battles are Ut 
fonght for Two Guineas each Batib* 

The next announcement appears nearly two 
months in advance of the event, viz., on February 
29. 1748, 

On Monday, the Hth of April, 174S, being Easter 
Monday, will l>a a Match of Cwks weigh M to fight the 
three following Di%j^ at Duddeston Hall, near Binning- 
htm, e*ch Party to weigh Forty-one Conks, for ten 
GtuaeAa A Battle, and two Hundred the Mftin ; and tiach 
Pifr^to'Jprcigh Twenty Cocks for Bye Battles, for Five 

Many other advertisements and notices of a 
similar character appear throughout the earlier 
years of the Gazette's existence. 

It is far more plefiaantj however, to turn from 
the contemplation of pastimes of this character 
to the more elevating and refining pleasures of 
the drama* Our last notice of the stage in 
Birmingham brought us to Castle Street, where 

ST. J(>UK*a CllAPEl^ DBUlTESiS A.8 HEBriLT IN 1735. 

« 'tftttle* eiirh Cock to give and take Half an 
Tliie Gentlemen of Worcester and HerefonLjhtre 

ikm Gentlemen of Warwickahire and StalTordshire, 
match is thus reported in the OazetU of 

On Timday, W«4T!*§dAy, and Thursday last waa fought 

■ft Dnddeaton 
mm <vf Wor 
CmIci tar Ur 
HMiio, and tL 
BttUci won c 
Oddi to ihe 1 
Bkn «if Warwkk*btr*« 

this Town, between the CJeutle- 
mtl Wurwicksliire, a match of 
I Battle, and two Hundred the 
! !*:3 at Five Gulneaa each. The 

were c(iual on each aide, nnd the 
wi»T« two in ^aronr nf the r»«ntle- 

theatrical performances were wont to be given m 
a stable, at the low charge of thrisupenco for 
admissiom In 1740, however, a theatre was 
erected in Moor Street, which gave a more re- 
spectable appearance to dramatic entertainments, 
although, if Mutton's account of the mode of 
advertising them be correct, the theatre was still 
far below those of other towns in importance and 
social status, " In the day-time," says oup 
veracious historian, "the comedian h^at up for 

Tolunteeis lor the night, delivered Hiii biUs of f icre, 
and roared out an encomium on the excellcnco of 
the entertainment, which had not always the 
dasired effect/' 

Theatrical nmugements would seem^ however, 
to have he come more papular during the ten 
ymim which inten'ened between the above date 
and the period to which this chapter more particu- 
larly refers. "We read," saysDr, Langford, **of 
no less than three places at which phiys were 
acted. There was a tJieatre in New Street, a new 
theatre in Smallhrook Street, and another now 
theatre in Moor Street The two latter, however, 
were not licensed for dramatic jierformanceg, and 
their managers resortt^d to the practice of the maii 
in the streets who sells you a straw and givea you 
a book. A concert was performed, for admission 
to which a charge was made, and then the play 
and afterpiece were given gratis.** 

The earliest notice relating to the New Street 
theatre appeared in the Gazette of January' 31, 
1743, announcing a performance for the benefit 
of Mr. MiUer and his wife, the former being, it 
appears, a member of the "Antient Society of 
Free and Accepted Masons," for the entertain- 
ment of which ancient society was spoken a Pro- 
logue and Epilogue made in Honour of them ; 
several " Brotherly Songs " were also announced 
to be sung on the occasion. The piece performed 
was Congreve's *< Mourning Bride." 

During the period which had elapsed since the 
perfonnances in the Castle Street stable, the 
tastes and requirements of the play-going public 
of Birmingham had advanced ; and the ** rags and 
tinsel " of those days no longer satisfied them. 
As all who are familiar with the history of the 
stage know, David Garrick had by this time l>egun 
to effect great reforms in the matter of costume, 
and although the period of the drama was not 
sufficiently taken into account, the naiimt.aUty of 
the dramatis pm*8onm was, and foi*eign characters 
were no longer impersonated in English dresses, 
at any rate in the principal theatres. So that we 
are not surprised to hear that a company of players 

who had regard to aocttfacy of costume occasion- 
ally favoured Birmingham with their preBenoftl 
On the 18th of May, 1747, the following editor 
notice appeared : 

We are informed from Wiabeeh, thnt &lr. Herbert*! _ 
Conipnny of Comedians will be here, and op**n tho Theutr 
in Jloor Street» on Monday the First of June, with 
TrngedVi call'd the Siege of Daiuoscns, with prop 
Dresses to every Chamcter, and Scones and Decoration 
proper to the Play, 

i)n the day of the arrival of ilr« IIerhert*sl 
company, a more detailed announcement of tha| 
piece appeared in the Gazette, in which it ia said 
to have been ** wrote by Mr. Johfi HuyhfSy who\ 
died far Joy on its eucce^g after the thd N%gfd'§ 
Performance.'* It is prohable that the anxiety 
for the fate of the piece, which was the authored ] 
first attempt, ate^Ierated his death, as he was, all 
the period of its production, in a state of utterl 
prostration, from that most fatal malady, con* 
sumption. He had heen the beloved and trostetll 
friend of Joseph Addison and Richard StoelfrJ 
both of whom professed groat admiration for hi«1 
dramatic abilitiw. The *' Si^ige of DamtMOua "* 
is printed in the tenth volume of Mrs, Inchhald*5 
British Theatre, •* lie choae this Story," con- 
tinues the writer of the Ocvxtts notice, " 
convince Mankind (as he often dechir'd) tliat 
amongst Turks the Principlea of Honour and 
Morality were not unknown, and by the oharacfc 
of Phocyas, that he, the invincible else, waa to 1 
mibdued by Love." The notice further state 
that ** This play has been constantly hunour'd 
in London by the most Brilliant Audietnoe&l 
Tis therefore to be hopM what has been 
encouragM there, will at least be look'd at 
here hy all Lovers of Learning and Taate, AH 
the Characters in this -Play will f/c dre^ed i% 
the proper Habits, cr* the Turk'4 and Greeks \ 

The same number of the Gazette contained 
report of a perfoimanoe at the New Theatre 
Smallhrook Street on the previous Friday, of " \ 
Play of *The Eari of Esaex,' and the celehmto 
Entertaiuuient of * Harlfx|ain*« Vagarie«^ 


Bur^omo^ter Trick'd ' . . . to a crowded 
kce, with uhiversal Applauao," and states 
Qmi *'1>y porticui&r Desire, the sfitue Entertain- 
ment, with tbc Comedy of Love for Love, written 
by Mr. Congreve, (and several Ent«?rlainineiits of 
Singmj; smd Dancing K'tween the Acts) are to Xte 
perfotmed Tliere this Evening," 

In ordpr U* show the TnauBcr in which the tin- 
licenced pbyers ftunounced their perfoniiances, 
Dr* t,angford quotes the fullowing, from the 
Gasem of August 4, 1746 : 

At tlie New TJiCfttru, in Moor Strwt, This present 

Ersnin^, will be jx^rformM A Coijc«tt of Vocal and In* 

I »tTunj#?ntiil Muttick. Boxi',% 2.?. 6ff. Pit, 2i. First f»aL, 

[Ui. Upper (InX.f (W/. Ik*l^eeii lUa two ParU of i\w 

rri irill be prL'iiei4t4.'d (tiiatis) a CoDiedy, called *' The 

Tlie Piirt of Ltnegold the Miser by Mr. Breeze, 

Fnsaerick by Mr, 8niitb, Clerimont by Mr. Slaiter, 

Bam 3 1 1' ly Mr. Wigiicll, Jiunes by Mr, Mlii taker, Decoj- 

by ' liift ihtp Tnylar by Mr. Waber, Mftriana by 

ilam*'t by >trH. \Vi(^neIl, Jlrs. Wisely by 

Child, Wheedle by .Mrs, Smith, and the Part of 

*ft by Mr*, Whitaker. To which will be added an 

[Ojicn, caird **Thc Mock Doctor; or the Dumb Lady 

I rttr*d.** Tlie jwut of the Doctor by Mr, Wlii taker, Dorcas 

1 l*y Mr. Slttiter, Ijcander by Mr. Child, Sir JasiHiT l>y Mr, 

I l)r«tfe, Dunib Lady by Mrj*. Whitaker, To begin exactly 

I Seven UVlock. 

Bat it inn«t not bo snppoacfi frnni the preced- 
' ing announce men ts that Shakespeiire was ignored 
in Birmingham. On the 15th July, 1747, ''A 
Tragedy mtltd * Hamhi Prima of Defimark*** 
Bed at the Ikfoor Street Theatre, and 
I evening wns produced, at the rival 
hoiifle in Smallbrook Street, -*A Celebrated 
Tngedy, eall*d Othello, the Moor of Venice, 
wntUrn by the famous Shake§ij)eare," 

Whm theatrical entertainnient« palled, tl»e 
I $©eker a/ler anju.sement might turn to other 
[ cxbibitiona of vanoiis kinds, among which men- 
tion may be mmh of a "curious and nnparallerd 
Mniiad Clock, made by David Ivockwotid," 
[whidi wtm exhibited at the sign of the Wheat 
^BbfOil in ibo Bull Eing, " for the entertaining 
•fimaeniMit ol tha Quality, Gentry, and others/' 
TUi carious piece of mechanism is described in 
a im^giliy adverthietnent, in irhich it is stated to 
W ** ft Machine, inoompanihle in its Kind, aa well 

for the Beauty uf it^ Structtue as the Nicety and 
Perfection of its Performance. It^ compoaitioni 
are admirable^ and far more elegant than any yet 
extant, being the choieeat airs taken out of the 
best Operaa, with graces ingeniously intermixed. 
Together witli French Horn Pieces upon the 
Organ, German and Common Flute, Flagolett, 
&c., to the great satisfaction of the most eminent 
Masters and Judges, as Sonatas, Concertos, 
Marchefl, Minuets, Jigs and Scotch Airs, compos'd 
by Corelli, Aiberoni, Mr. Handel, Dr. Bradley, 
and other eminent Masters." The note subjoined 
by the advertiser hm an eye to the disposal of 
this curious piece of Mechanism. We wonder if 
it found a purchaser in the ** world's toyshop." 

NoTtt. — The above Clock plays a Pici^ of MubIc every 
Four Hours of itself, and of Pleaaure ; is wound up once in 
Eight Days, and it* now to be sold by Edmund Ribing, 
the CH^ner, This Piece waa never here before, nor the like 
seen. Any Persona that are curioua, and desire to we 
the iuaide Work, shall be welcome. Our ntay in thii 
town will be very »hort. 

From ^* Fleet Street, uear Temple Bar," came 
one of the predecessors of good Madame Tuasaud 
and Artemus War<l, with a collection of **wax 
works," which were exhibited in the Chamber 
over the Old Criss in June, 1746, comprising 
figures "representing the Royal Family of Great 
Britain, ricldy dreas'd, and in full Proportion, as 
they appe-ar on the King*8 Birthday Day, the 
late Queen Caroline being dress'd in a Suit of 
her own Cloaths." They are said to have been 
" esteeni'd by all who have seen them, the most 
beautiful work that has ever been seen in the 
Kingdom, being valued at Five Hundred Pounds, 
and have been shewn to most of the Kobility of 
the Kingdom with great satisfaction." Yisitors 
were entertained with ** a variety of Music, 
Vocal and Instrumental; the latter performed 
on a Chamber Orgsm, with two 8eU of Keys; 
the full Organ, with the Stops aa follow : Stop 
Diapason, the Trumpet Stop, the Principal Stop, 
the Coroned and Fifteenth, the Chair Orgun and 
Flute Stojis.'* 

Following the wax worke, came an exhibition 


OLD AKD NEW BIEMIKGHAM. lTlieSU*ryof»Bim*w.yAwtt««itlce 

simikf to that of the clock previously described, 
with the addition of various feats of legerdemain 
and other marvels, in May, 1749, thus described 
by the exhibitor : 

TMs is to ticquaint the Curious, that at the Bl&ck Boy 
Ib Edgbaston Street, Binuingbam, thia and every Eveuing 
during his Stay in Town, Mr. Yeiitcs^ from London, will 
exhibit a Grand, Curious and Splendid Representation of 
the Temple of Apollo, at Delphos, in Greece. Being the 
Temple to which Alexander the Great went to inquire who 
wa8 bia Father ; whether he had reveng'd bis Deatli on all 
hia Enemies ; and where the Heatheus of Old repaired in 
Tiraes of private Distress, or public danger. Tliis ad- 
mirable Piece of Art is atJom'd with everj' Thing that can 
render it pleasing to the Spectator, having curious Pillars 
nf Lapis LajEuli, and embelliiih'd with Painting in an elegant 
Manner. Phai'too ia rcprt'sented petitioning Apollo to let 
him drive the Chariot of the Sun, which being granted 
occasions the Fall of Phaeton, who wanting, judgment ti> 
conduct the Chariot of the Sun thro' the Mid Air, had 
like, thro' this Misconduct, to have the World on Fii-e ; 
but was destroy 'd by a Thunderbolt Irom Jupiter, and 
thrown headlong into the Eivcr Padus in Italy, otherwise 
called Eriilanus. Likewise the Triumphs of th« Baechus 
and Ariadne, represented in a grand and mnginticent 
nmuner, and adorned with aU the Ornaments and Decora- 
tions which can fill the Mind with pleasing Ideals and 
ehann a judiciouj* and curious SjHsetalor. Likewise a 
curious OrgaUi which performs several select Pieces of 
Musick, composed by the best Masters. 

N*B. The Machine is in Height twelve Feet, in 
Breadth nine, and in Depth seven, and not seen through 
any Glass. In order to afford the Vertuoai an agreeable 
Amuteinent, Mr, Yeates will perform hia imimitable Dex- 

terity of Hands ; Who, for hi« Cards, at»d the dean con^ 
veyance of his Outlandish Birds, that Talk very agreeably 
at the Word of i*ommand, together with his sudden and 
surprising production of an Applc-Treo, which bo causes 
to Grow, Blossom, and bejir Ri|»e Fniit fit for any Person 
to Eat of it in less than three Minutes* Time ; and stveral 
other siir|)ri3iug Tricks, is allowed, by the curious, to excel 
all other Performers. Pit U. Upper Seats 6^/. The Doaim_ 
to be open at Six o'Clock, and begin at Seven, Gent 
men or Ladies may have a private Performance, giv 
two Hours' Notice* 

The village of Aston even at tlmt date 
pleasure gardens, which would seem to have been^ 
almost 08 attractive as those which at the preses 
day draw their thousands of pleaeure-seekere from" 
all pai'ts of the midland coiinties* 

In an early number of the Gazette u announc 
the postponement, on account of the indenaencj 
of the weather, of a ** Performance of Music and 
Fire- Wf irks, at Bridgnmn s Gardens, at the Apollo 
at Aston, near Birmingham* In connection with 
this f^te wm announced the perfomiance by MrJ 
Bridgman and others of **a grand Trio of Mi 
Handeira out of Acis and Gabitea, and tha 
favourite Duet of Mr. Ame*8 called Damon and 

With this notice of an old Aeton f^te we con- 
clude onr notes from the Urat decada of Aria's 
Birmingham Gazette, 


Tl» Early Llfa of WWlAai Huttoa— An idle week atid tti cons<;quonec9— Hntton In tiiigmcw— Deternihwa to run ftway— JLrrllfl 
Derby— A night la lb« ot^'U «lr— LI thO eld— Further mi* fortunes— A wcnr> trump to WtUill— First imprtwiont of Btnnin^hAlii| 
iU Pftoplff— Good SazuaritaDi ftt tlie Old Cross— Jouniey Ihrougb tlie Stocking District- The retura home, and enU of *ji evcatfuJ 1 ' 

The year 1741 — the birth-year of Ariss Gazette 
— ia interesting also as the one in which William 
Hutton first visited Birmingham. 

He was born at Derby, on the 30th of Septem- 
ber, 1723. In 173S, after having endured many 
hardships, he entered the aervice of an uncle, at 
l^ottingham, as an apprentice to the trade of 
stocking-weaving. Here he appears to have been 
pretty comfortable, until an unfortunate circum> 

stance, which occurred during the week of No^ 
tingham races, in the month of June, 174L 

** Tlio week of the races," he says, ** b an id 
one among the stocldngers at Nottingham. It 
was so with me. Five days had elapsed, and I 
had done little more than the work of four, 

"My uncle, who always judged from the' 
present moment, supposed I should never retu 
to industry*— though 1 had lately purchased a suil 

rof.Rui^wajAppr«itie^i.j OLD AOT> NEW BIRMINGHAM. 


of clothes with my over-work — was augry at my 
neglect, and observed, on Saturday morning, that 
if I did not perfonn my task that day, he would 
thmsh me at night." 

Tiie threat thus held over the young stockingor 
did not deter him from tinisbuig the week in 
KMDethmg like the idle manner which had thus 
fiir cluinictemed it* ** Idleness,'' he says, ** that 
. hoTeied over me five days, «lid not choose to 
I me the aixtL" Not that he entirely wasted 
the day ; from his own account it aeoms he wanted 

** Could you have done it ? " he repeated again. 

WiJlium Hutton was of too noble a nature to 
take refuge in deceit. " As I ever detested lying," 
he says, *'I could not think of covering myself, 
oven from a rising storm, by so mean a subterfuge; 
for we both knew I had done near twice aa 
much- I therefore answered in a low meek voice, 

* / cculd.^ This fatal word, innocent in itself, 
and founded upon truth, proved my destruction, 

* Then,* says he, * ITl make you/ He immediately 
brought a birch-beeaom-steal * of white hazel, and, 




but one hour's work to complete the task which 
bad been set him. He fondly Loped, however, 
that his unifonnly good conduct during the past 
tlave years would atone for present delinquencies, 
and did Doi suppose lus uncle would carry out his 
hanb threat But his hopes were doomed to dis- 
appobtment Night came, and his uncle foimd 
the task unlinidhed. 

•* Yoa liav© not done the task I ordered I " he 

!T :ttun was silent. 

\lj it in your power to have done it 1 " 
Na rtply. 

holding it by the small end, repeated his blows 
till I thought he would have broken me to pieces. 
The windows were open, the evening calm, the 
sky serene, and everything mild but my uncle. 
The sound of the roar and of the stick penetrated 
the air to a great distance." 

Smarting tis he was with bodily pain, he felt 
even more deeply the wound his pride had received 
by this semi-public chastisement. 

'* I was drawing near eighteen,'* he says, "held 
some rank among my acquaintance, and made a 

• All Mldlftnden know th€ common be»om, or broom, intdc of 
hMtt), wiih iU "«t«»l" or *■ «tale,*' <lti« bundle,} tttUAlijr niAda of 


OLD AND NEW BmMINGHA^l, itu« story «f*Rtm»wiyApi««tt«i 

small figure in dress; therefore, though I was 
greatly hurt in body, I was much more hurt in 
mind by this flogging. The ne^t day, July 12, 
1741, I went to meeting in the morning as UBual 
My uncle seemed sorry for what had passed, and 
inclined to make matters up. At noon lie sent 
me for some fruity and asked me to parUke of it. 
I thanked him witli a sullen * No,' My wounds 
were too deep to he healed with cherries," 

The same day a female acquaintance linished 
the work of humiliation by jeering him about 
the beating he had received the night before. 
This stung him to the quick. *'I woxild rather," 
he said, ** she had broken my head." 

The idea of running away hi^l been suggested 
to him on former occjisions by an ill -doling fellow- 
apprentice n^mied I\oper; and the humiliation 
and disgrace he bad now undergone led Mm to 
ndopt this course* Ho felt that he could not 
jigain show hiniBelf among his friends and 
acquaintances without becoming the object of 
tlieir ridi('u]<i and scorn, and resolved to leave 
tliL^ town that very day. 

Putliiig on Ms hat, as if going to Meeting, he 
privately slipped up- stairs, early In the afternoon, 
until the famOy had departed. As soon aa he was 
alone, he began to pack up hia few posae-ssions, 
clothes^ and a little food. He found ten shillings 
belonging to his uncle, but his scrupulous in- 
tegrity would not permit him to take more than 
the actual necessities of hia journey required. 
He, therefore, kept but two shillings, and left the 
other ttight. 

The next diflicuity was how to escape from the 
house. Tlicre waa but one door, and that was 
locked, and they had taken the key. Contriving, 
however, to get his encumbrances to the top of 
a wall about eight feet high, in a back yard, he 
next climbed up himself, dropped them on the 
other side, and jumped down after them. Es- 
caping unobserved, save by an acquaintance easily 
enjoined to secrecy, he started on his jouroey. 

** Figure to yourself,'* he says, ** a lad of 

onteen, not elegantly dressed, nearly Eve feet 

Mgh, rather Dutch build, with a long aairow^ 
bag oi brown leather, that would hold about 
strike, in which was neatly packed up a new 
suit of clothes, also a wMte linen bag which 
would hold about half as mnch» containing 
sixpenny loaf of blencon ♦ bi-cad, a bit of butt 
wrapped in the leaves of an old copy*boi)k, 
new Bible value three shillings, one shirt, a pa 
of stockings, a sim-dial, my best wig, carefuU| 
folded and laid at top, that, by lying in tha 
hollow of the bag, it might not bo eraabed. The 
ends of the two bags being tied together, I slung 
them over my left shoulcler, rather in the style o£ 
a cockhghter* My best hat, not being properlj 
calctdated for a bag, I hung to iho button of 
my coat. I had only two shillings in my pocket j 
a spacious world l>6f ore me, and no plan of op 

Such was the quaint figure cut by the runaway 
appfcntic© as be left Nottingham, casting **mftnjj 
a melancholy look" behind him as **evoTy 
set Mm at a greater distance" from home amtl 
friends j and took as he thought an everlasting 
farewell of all that was so dear to him. '' 
carried," he says, *' neither a light heart nor 
light loftd ; nay, there was nothing light about^ 
me except tlie sun in the heavens and tl»e money 
in my pocket." He did not re^ch Derby until 
ten o'clock at nighty where the inhabitants,! 
retiring to bed, seemed, to the weary outcast, tal 
be retreating from liis society. 

He made Ms way to his father's housei, (suf 
posing the inmates had by this time retired tc 
rest,) in oilier that he might take a fond look 
at the only homely object which his weaiy trtuuj 
would aflbrd him; but as he came near he 
coived the door open, and heard Ms fathered food 
not three yards from him, and retreated precipiJ 
tately. "How ill calculated are we to judg6 
of events," he adds; ** I was running from tha 
last hand that could have saved me 1 '* 

He took up his abode for the night on tb« 

* Bloncoi}« cir Bleiiroru— i.r,f mi'tidH''Oni, 1 
oom, ryeAAd wh«Rl,— Jsvrnr. 

•€iai7«ftBuiu^7AFpfiiiu»] OLB AND NEW BIBMTNGHAM- 


damp gtnsB, in a cloee outeido the town called 
Abbey Banid, with tlie sky overlieiid and hia bags 
by bis side. But there was little repose for him, 
in his agitated mental condition, ami the place 
W46 full of cattle, their hc&yy breathing, together 
with tht danlcing of the chains at the feet of 
, the borsuSv were of themselves sufficient to keep 
him awake. He rose at four, 6tar\^ed, sore, 
and stiff; left his bags under a tree, first 
corering them with leaves, and waited on St 
Werburgh's Bridge for his brother Sam, whom 
ba knew would pass that way to the silk-mill 
at five o'clock. 

*• I told him/* says Hutton, *' I had differed 
with my uncle, had left him ; intended for 
Ireland ; that he must remember me to my 
father, whom I should probably see no more, 
I had all the discourse to myself, for he did not 
speak one word." 

He then proceeded on his journey, and arrived 
at Burton-on-Trent the same morning, having 
ttiareUad twenty-eight mile.% without spending 
a penny, " I was an economist from my birth/' 
he lays, *' and the character nevei* forsook me," 

Continuing his narrative, he says : 

** 1 ever had an inclination to examine towns 
and plaees. Leaving my bags at a public house, 
I took a \*iew of the place, and, breaking into my 
first shilling, spent one penny as a recompense for 
I llidr care, 

** Arriving the same evening within the pre* 
dDcta of Lichfield, I approached a bam where 
I intended to lodge ; but, Ending the door shut^ 
opaoid my parcels in tlie field, dressed, hid my 
l^^ under a hedge, and took a view of the city 
for about two hour% though very foot-sora 

*• Returning to the spot about nine, I undressed, 
hg^ tsp my things in decent order, and pre- 
pasni for rest ; but alas J I had a bed to seek. 
Abooi a stone's cast from the place stood another 
ban, whidi, perhaps^ might furnish me with 
lodgbi^ I thought it needless to take the bags 
(wldla I azamined the place) as my stay would 
fai viiy »boat. 

** The second bam yielding no relief, I returned 
in about ten minutes. But what waa my surprise 
when I perceived the bags were gone ! Terror seized 
me, I roared after the rascal, but might as well 
have been silenti for thieves seldom come at a 
caU. Running, raving, and lamenting, about the 
fields and roads, employed some time. I was too 
much immersed in distress to find relief in tears. 
They refused to flow. I described the bags, and 
told the afifair to all I met. I found pity, or 
seeming pity, from all, but redress from none. I 
saw my hearara dwindle with the twilight ; and, 
by eleven o'clock found myself left in the open 
street, to tell my mournful tale to the silent night 

*' It is not easy to place a human being in a 
more distressed situation. My finances were 
nothing. A stranger to the world, and the world 
to me. No employ, nor likely to procure any. No 
food to eat, or place to rest. All the little pro^ 
perty I had upon earth taken from me : nay, 
even hope, that last and constant friend of the 
unfortunate, forsook me. I was in a more ^vretched 
condition tljan he who has nothing to lose. An 
eye may roll over these lines when the hand that 
writes them shall be still- May that eye move 
virithout a tear 1 I sought repose in the street, 
upon a butcher's block." 

He arose early the next morning from hia hard 
couch, and renewed his eiii^uirie^ after his missing 
bags, but all to no purpose. Among others he 
accosted ** a gontlenian in a wrought nightcap, 
pliiid gown, and morocco slippers,^* and told him 
his tale of distress, lliis gentleman appears to 
have been one of that claas of philanthropists 
still very common in the w^orld, who feel for the 
sorrows of humanity, everywhere — except in 
their pockets. lie was touched with compassion 
at the yoimg wanderers pitiful tale, **I found," 
says Hutton, ** it was easy to penetrate his heartp 
but not his pocket." 

*Mt is market-day at Walsall," said the would 
be philanthropist "Yonder people are going 
there; your attention on them may be success- 
ful." Ha acted upon this advice^ and joined the 



rWtUilm Hatton in Birmfnglum 

little company, who were on their way to that 
place, the one party with a waggon-load of 
carrots, and the other with a hoise-load of 
cherries* They continued together until the end 
of the journey ; *' but," says he, '* I think 
neither pity nor gucceas wero of our party.** 

Hia feet were bliBt^rcd, being unused to travel- 
ling ; but when he arrived at Walsall he begged 
a little common beef-fat from a good-natured 
butcher in that town, and with this he rubbed 
his feet, and found instant relief. He then cast 
about him to Und employment, but, on applic-a- 
tion to a man who sold stockings in the market, 
he learned that there were no frames in Walsall, 
but many in Birmingham, in which place the 
stocking-vendor had an acquaintance in the trade, 
to whom he kindly gave the young stockinger a 

After resting awhile^ therefore, he resumed his 
journey in the direction of Birmingham, and, on 
his way thither, saw what to him was a curious 
sight ; the female nail-makers of the Black 

** I wondered," he says, ** in my way from Wal- 
sall to BirmiDgham, to see so many blacksmiths' 
shops ; in many of them one, and in some two, 
ladies at work ; all with smutty faces, thundering 
at the anvil. Struck with the novelty, I asked 
if the ladies in this country shod horses \ but was 
answered, * They are nailers/' " 

Arriving on Handsworth Health he saw, for the 
first timep the great town which was to berorae 
his future home, and which shoidd, to use his 
own phrase, draw not only his person, but his 
esteem from the place of Ms nativity, and fix it 
upon herself. The first object to attract his 
attention was St Philip's Church, which was 
then "uncrowded with houses (for there were 
none to the Nortli except New Hall), untarnished 
with smoke, and illuminated with a western 
sun/* ** I was charmed," he says, ** with its 
beauty, and thought it then, as I do now, iho 
credit of the place." 

In his History of Birmingham, kt wcords his 

tirst impressions of the town and its people 
follows : 

" The environs of all 1 had seen were com- 
posed of wretched dwellings, replete with 
and poverty ; but the buildings in the exteriq 
of Birmingham rose in a style of elegano 
Thatch, so plentiful in other towns, was not to' 
be met with in this. I was much surprised at 
the place, but more at the people. They were 
a species I had never seen ; they possessed a 
vivacity I had never beheld ; I had been among 
dreamers, but now I saw men awake : their 
very step along the street shewed alacrity, 
had been taught to consider the whole twenty^ 
four hours as appropriated for sleep, but I found ^ 
a people satisfied with only half that number." 
He tells us, in hie History, of one Obrian, a 
pavier, who was journeying from London to 
Dublin, and had intended to stay in Birming- 
ham but one night, on his way ; but instead 
pursuing his journey the next morning, 
determined to stay in the town, and had con 
tinned a resident here thirty-five years ; ** and 
though," adds Hutton quaintly, ** fortune ha^ 
never elevated him above the pebbles of th 
street, he had never repented his stay." 

** My intended stay," says our hero, 
Ohrian's, was one night ; but, struck with thi^ 
place, I was unwilling t^ leave it, 1 could no 
avoid remarking, that if the people of Bii 
ham did not suffer themselves to sh^i^ in tlti 
iitreettff they did not suffer othei-s In sleep 
their beds ; for 1 was, each morning by 
o'clock, saluted with a circle of hammete. Eve 
man seemed to know and prosecute his ov 
affaix'8 : the town was large, and full of inhabitant 
and those inhabitants full of induEtiy. I had 
seen faces elsewhere tinctured with an id 
gloom void of meaning, but here, with a pie 
alertness. Their appearance was strongly marked] 
with the modes of civil life : I mixed with a 
variety of company, chiefly of the lower ranks^ 
and rather as a silent spectator. I was treated 
with an easy freedom by all, and with marks 

iaiifcUmiiiBfTmtogiuua.1 OLD AND NEW BERMINGHA^t 


1^ tra 


f&voar by some. Hospitality seemed to claim 
this hAppy people for her own," 

The weather waa exceedingly fine dxiring his 
brief stay in the town, and this, he says, gave a 
lostp© to the whola •* The people/' be says, 
*^ seemed happy, and I, the only animal out 
of use." 

Impressed by the example of the busy people 
Birmingham^ he immediately cast about 
to find employment. There appeared to be 
three stocking-weavers in Birmingham ; Evans, a 
Quaker, Holmes^ in Dale End, and Fi-ancis Grace, 
at the Gate-way in New Street, the latter being a 
native of Derby. Hutton went first to Evans» 
iriio was the oldest and principal member of the 
tfBdein the town, and asked him for employment. 
You are a 'prentice." 

*• Sir," said Hutton, '* I am not, but am como 

ith the recommendation of yoiir friend Mr. Such- 
a-one, of WalsalL" 

*' Go about your business, I tell you, you are a 
runaway "prentice," said Evans angrily. 

Thus repulsed, the young stockinger retreated, 
•'sincerely wishing," he adds, " I had business to 
go about." 

He next called upon Holmes, but he was at 
that moment engaged in waiting upon a customer, 
and gave the weary seeker after employment a 
penny to be rid of him. 

He then turned towards New Street, to seek 
Mr< Grace, who had known the Hutton family, 
bflingy as already stated, a native of the same towm 

"Fourteen years after,** says Hutton, **he pro- 
cared for me a valuable wife, his niece I and 
8txtc«D yeais after, he died, leaving me in pos- 
MKion of hii premisee and fortune, paying some 


'* I moved the same question to him I hnd done 
to otlie»y and with the same efiect. He asked 
liter Iris brother at Derby. I answered readily, 
a« if I knew. One He often produces a second. 
He examined toB closely ; and^ though a man of 
no shining talenU, quickly set mo foHt. I was 
obliged to tell three or four lies to patch up a 

lame tale» which I plainly saw would hardly 

** I appeared a trembling stranger in that house, 
over wliich, sixteen years after, I should preside, 
and that for nineteen more. I st^od, as a culprit, 
by that counter, upon wliicb, thirty-eight years 
after, I should record the memory. I thought, 
though his name was Grace, his heart was stony ; 
and I left the shop with this severe reflection, 
that 1 had told several lies, and that without the 
least advantage. I am sorry to digress, but must 
beg leave to break the thread of my narrative 
while I make two short remarks. 

** I at-quiiied a high character for honesty, by 
stealing two sliilliags ! Not altogether becauBo 
I took two out of ton, but because I left the other 
eight A thief is seldom known to leave part of 
his booty if he has power over the whole. If I 
had had money, I should not have taken any ; 
and if I had found none, I should not have run 
away. The reader will also think with me that 
two shillings was a very modest sum to carry mo 
to Ireland. 

** The other is whether lying is not laudable i 
If I could have consented to tell one lie to my 
imcle, I should not only have saved my back, my 
character, and my property, but abo prevented 
about ten lies wliich I was obliged to tell in the 
course of the following week. But that Vast 
InteUigence who directs immensity, whether he 
judges with an angry eye, according to some 
Christians, or with a benign one, according to 
others, will ever distinguish between an act of 
necessity and an act of choice." 

Turning slowly away, his lust opportunity of 
finding employment gone, he walked in the 
dire^^tion of the Bull King. It was about seven 
o'clock in the evening of Tuesday, the third day 
of his wanderings. ** I sat to rest," ho says, ** on 
the north side of the Old Cross, near Phihp 
Street ; the poorest of all the poor belonging to 
that great parish, of which, twenty-seven years 
after, 1 should be overseer. I sat under that 
roof, a silent, depressed objecti where thirty-on« 

years after, I should sit oe a judge. When pro- 
perty shoidd be iu my decision, I should have the 
pleasure of terminating dilferences between man 
and man, and the good fortune to leave, even the 
loser, satisfieiL Why did not some kind agent 
comfort me with the distant prospect 1 

** About ten yards from me, near the corner of 
Pliilxp Street, I perceived two men in aprons eye 
me with some attention. They approached near. 
* You seem/ says one, * by your melancholy situa- 
tion, and dusty shoes, a forlorn traveller, without 
money and without friends/* I assured him it 
was exactly my case, * If you chooso to accept 
& pint, it is at your aenice. I know what it is 
myself to be distressed/ *I shull receive any 
favomr/ says I, *with thankfulness.* 

"They took me tc» the Bell in Fliilip Street, 
and gave me what drink and bread and cheese 
I chose. They also procured a lodging in the 
neighbourhood, where I slept for three half-pence, 

"I did not meet with this treatment in 1770 
[twenty-nine years after] at Market Bosworth, 
though I appeared in the style of a gentleman. 
The inhabitants set their dogs at me merely be- 
cause I was a stranger. Surrounded by impassable 
roads, no intercourse with man to humanize the 
mind, no commerce to smooth their rugged man- 
ners, they are the boors of nature. We are 
taught to wish good for eviL May the grass 
grow in their stxeeta ! *' 

The kind treatment which he received from 
the ** good Samaritans " of Birmingham made it 
difficult to him to leave that "seat of civility," 
as he styled the town, and he determined to 
endeavour, for one day, to forget grim care in 
the gratification of liia previously expressed in- 
clination to ** examine towns and places^"— a 
pleasure for which he had already had to pay 
dearly at Lichfield, — and so on the morning of 
the following day (Wednesday) made a more 
minute survey of the toivn. It may interest tho 
reader to know tbe extreme boundary of the 
town as perambulated by Button at that date. 
From Ms History we learn that, commencing at 

tbe t^p of 8now Hill, along Bull Lane (the Xow j 
Hail Lane of 1731), the town was still confined 
to the left of the traveller^ the land on the right J 
being still unbuilt upon. Through Bull Lane he 1 
would proceed to Temple Street ; thence, down J 
Peck Lane, to the top of Pinfold Street Along] 
Dudley Street, across the Old Inkleys, to th«| 
top of Smallbrook Street ; and back, through 
Edgbaston Street and Bigbeth to the upper end I 
of Deritend. Returning to the top of Digbeth, 
he would pass along Park Street, up Mass-house i 
Lane, passing the northern end of Pal© End, | 
along Staffonl Street, and up Steelhouae Lane^ i 
to the place from whence he startetL We seel 
from this survey that the town had not as yet ' 
extended greatly beyond the lines of 1731, but 
many of the streets then formed were now much^ 
better filled up with houses* 

On Thursday,— the 16th of July,— be left! 
Birmingham for Coventry and arrived at thatj 
city early in the day. Still » however, be saw no I 
opportunity of emplo^Tuent, and cgain gratifiedJ 
his desire for seeing strange places. But thel 
venerable city does not appear to have impressed] 
him favourably, " The streets," he soys, " seemed 1 
nan'ow, ill-paved, and the place populous," The] 
Cross he pronounce " a beautiful little piece ol| 
architecture, but composed of wretched materials^" 
The quaint old houses, with their projtscting upper J 
stories, seemed to him to wear a gloomy aspect ; ] 
he humoionsly conjectures that the idea oi the 
architect in designing the npper projection was 
** that of shooting off the wet, and shaking hands ] 
out of the garret windows," He slept that niglit 
at the Star Inn in that city, " not " he adds, •* aa ' 
a chamber guest but as a hay -chamber one." 

The next day he walked to Nuneaton, and 
found tlmt he " had again entered the dominions 
of sleep." The inhabitants seemed to him to < 
creep along as if afiaid their streeta should lie eeeuj 
empty. ** However," he says, " they had sen 
enough to ling the word ' 'prtniice ' in my ean^ ' 
which I not only denied, but used every %Qiel 
in rhetoric I waa master of to establish my aigii- 

tliurelir« tnd BpcU, 17201760 ) 



inent; y«t wiw not nhh to perftiiade thera out of 
penetratioiL" Hia great crime was that he 
aod to be only a hot/. ** I thought it hard," he 
»ya,**to perish because I could not convince p€oplo 
I was a man," Ue left the town earij m the day, 
^without a smile, and without a diniK^r," and 
liod Hinckley about four o'clock in tlie after- 
Here, a native of Derby, named MOlward, 
' him some little employment, at which, 
during the two hours which were still left 
of the day, he eiirned tieopence. After wnrk, 
MElward put the nsnal questions, and charj^'ed 
him with being a runaway apprentice, and this 
tiiiifi, utterly broken down^ the poor wanderer 
odnutted with t^ara tlie truth of the indict- 
iDent, and told the story of his uncle's harah- 
uid his sulwoquent adventures. The story 
his wanderings arotisod ^lillward's suspicions, 
and led him to enquire if he (llntton) had 
any money. ** Enough," he replied, to carry me 
home ; ** adding that be might rest satisfied as to 
his honest>% a^ he had brought two shillin^js from 
home with him. 

TliiJ* <»nJy cojifirmed Mill ward's suspicions. Two 
5hUlings» to carry a lad through a whole week of 
wandering, in which lie had travelled near upon a 
haiidi^ed milee ! The thing was absurd to a man 
atomed to take things easily, to whom absti- 
ywas probably unknown. " My reader will 

ask," siiys Htitturr, ** how T livf»d1 I answer, as 
ho could not. A turnip-field has supplied the 
place of a cook's shop ; a spring, that of a public- 
house ; and, while at Birmingham, I knew by 
repeatM experience, that cherries were a half-penny 
a pound/' He stayed with Millwaj-d until the 
nrxt morning, and then started off, after 
thanking him for his kindness; ** receiving,'* 
he says, '* nothing for my work, nor he for his 

He passed through Ashby-deda-Zouch at noon, 
and arrived at Derby at nine o*clock in the evening, 
hia week of wandering ended, and he onc^ more 
found himself under his father's welcome roof, 
where he was gladly received, with tears for his 
misfortunes, and an opportunity of reconciliation 
with his uncle, who willingly agreed to make up 
half the loss the wanderer had sustained at Lich- 
field, his father consenting to make up the other. 

**But I am sorry to observ©," adds Hutton, 
" that it waa thought of no more, I thought it 
pectdiarly hard that the promise to punish me 
was remembered, and the promise to reward m© 

Thus ended this eventful episode in the early 
life of the first historian of Birmingham, whom 
we must now leave, until the period at which he 
again visited Birmingham to take hia place aa one 
of her worthiest citizens. 



Bttir <'f Hit. Joltu'4 C1ui««t. rierit«j]d— ^t. Marttu'4— ltkcrc«Be of the Pealu of Bi<Ua dt St. Mjutln'c imd St. FbUip'»— 8t Bikrtholoiiietr'« 
c New Me«tlAg Htjua*— EracUuti of a D*{>tJai tf««Uug-lii>u»t!i in Cjiaaun Streot'-Ccnttroveniy between Bamisel Botim ftod 
-•*T'* LaiiB CliJ4j>cl— M«tlithli«o in Blniantfham— ViaiU of John Wealey— TUe PpotwUnt Dlueatiqg Charity School. 

Wk liavci in pivTioas chaptaiB, brought down 
Ih^ hkiory of the tliurchoa and aecta of Birming- 
\mm m for m tlie year 1720, or thereabouts. Up 
to tllflt period, fts we have seen, there were throe 
Chofehes in the town belonging to the Est&b- 
liriiai0Dlp Tie*; ib» Mother Church of St Martin's, 

St. Philip*s, and the old Chapel of St John the 
Baptist, Deritend. In the year 1786 the latter, 
which had stood more than three hundred and 
tlfty yeaiB, had fallen into a ^bate of complete 
dilapidation, and was taken down, and the pT««ent 
chapel, of brick, with stone casings to the doora 



(ChurchaB «tia Sftcta. 1790-lTOO 

and windowg, was erected. In 1762 the tower 
was added, thus completing one of the most 
unlovely examples of ecclesiastical aichitectur© 
ever perpetrated The rigorous adherence of the 
architect to the custom of phwiiiig the chancel due 
east has thrust that end of the church beyond the 
line of the street, thus adding to the irregular 
appearance of this^the oldest and most crooked 
street in the town- In 1777 eight very musical 
bellfi and a clock were placed in the tower. The 
church is said by Hut ton to be capable of accom- 
modating about seven hundred persons. 

During the period covered by the present 
chapter, from 1720 or thereabouts to 1760, the 
alterations at the two larger chun^hea were not 
considerable. The work of disfigurement con- 
tinued unchecked at St Martin's* Windows 
were blocked up here, and new and ugly ones 
opened there, large unsightly pews were erected 
** where no ^jew should be," and so the huildiug 
increased in ugliness, and no voice was heard to 
protest against the sins against taste which were 
thus committed, chieily by churchwardens. In 
1761 the pe^il of bells at St. Philip's were in- 
creased from six to ten, and as St* Martin's at 
that time had only eight, and ** could not bear 
to be out- numbered by a junior though of 
superior excellence,* " the older peal was increased 
to twelve, *' but," says Hutton, '* as room was in- 
sufficient for the admission of hells by tlie dozen, 
means were fouiul tu hoist them tier over tier." 
The probable reason for the increase to twelve 
was that there might be sufficient to afford scope 
for the cliiniing of various airs thereon ; for» as 
Mutton remarks, ** only a few tunes can he played 
on the octave, whilst the dozen will compass 
nearly all.*' 

An Industrial School was established in con- 
nection with St, Philip's Church, and erected in 
the churchyard in 1734. During the present 
century (in 1846) the school was removed to more 
commodious premises in Lichfield Street, capable 
of accommodating 170 children, boya and girls. 


The increasing population of the town c^ed 
for additional church accommodation. The town 
was rapidly extending eastward^ and it was nii 
cessary that some provision should be made fof 
the inhabitimts in the neighbourhood of Stafford 
Street, Dale End, and the eastern end of Park 
Street and Moor Street. To supply this ne^d, 
land was given for the erection of a church in 
this locality, by John Jenninga, Esq. ; and his 
lady contributed j£ 1,000 towards the building 
fund. In 1749, therefore, Binningham was 
provided with a fourth Church, dedicated to St 
Bartliolomew, which is one of the few local 
churches provided with a large burial-grountl 
The building is of brick, very unpretending 
its appearance, and is surmounted by what 
Hutton terms an "infant steeple, — very small 
but beautiiul" The architect very wisely re^, 
jected the superstition as to the eastward position 
and so enabled the building to range with thd 
lines of the surrounding streets. ** Whether thfl 
projectc>r committed an error," says Hutton, 
leave to the critics. It was the general p tactic 
of the Pagan church to fix their altar, upoml 
which they sacrificed, in the east, towards thej 
rising sun, the object of worship. The Christ 
church, in the time of the Romans, immediatclj 
succeeded the Pagan, and scrupulously adopted 
the same methoil; which has been strictly aA 
hered to. By what obligation the Christian 
bound to follow the Pagan, or wherein a church 
would bo injured by being directed to any of the 
thirty-two points of the compass, is doubtful* 
Certain it b, if the chancel of St. Bartholomew'^ 
had tended due east, the eye would have 
considerably hurt, and the builder would 
raised an object of ridicule for ages. The ground 
will admit of no situation but that in which theg 
church now stands. But the inconsiderate arcl] 
tect of Deritend Chapel, anxious to catch 
eastern pointy lost the line of the street ; we mayjj 
therefore, justly pronounca, ** A<? mcrificed 
ihe east:'* 

* Hl«tot7 of Blnnli^glma, dsih tdlttoa, y. 90f . 



LCIiurcJkes hnd fSt^etn, 17S0 I7«0.' 

ipparatns ftnd themselves " to a room at the hack 
of No- 38, High Street; and, in 1738, were 
enabled to build fo? themselves a meeting house 
in Cannon 8tT€43t, on part of the site of Gue^^t s 
cherry-orchard. To this prosperous little church 
the older community of Freeman Street joined 
themselves, and abandoned their original home, 
in the year 1752. 

On the opening of the Cannon Street Meeting 
House, a pamphlet was published by the Bev, 
Samuel Bouru, minister of the New Meeting, 
entitled *' A Dialogue between a Baptist and a 
Churchman, occasioned by the Baptist! opening a 
new fleeting House for reviving old Calvinistical 
doctrines, and spreading Antinomianiam and other 
errors, at Birmingham, in Warwkkshke. Part L 
By a consistent Christian;" Thit pamphlet 
called forth a crushing reply from the celebrated 
Dr. Gill, one of the most eminent and learned 
divines of the Baptist community. A second 
part subsequently appearetl, which met with a 
^inulur fate at the hands of that di^dne. 

The early part of the eighteenth century has 
ever stood forth in the religious history of this 
country as an age of indinerence and un- 
belief. Tho clergy of the Established Church, 
arui the desceudanta of the puritan Nonconform- 
ists who ha<l sulTered for their religious opinions 
in the spventtienth century, joined in throwing 
over as useless all the d^igmatic theology for 
which their fathers had struggled. In this period 
of loose creeds the doctrine of Arianism gained 
gixjund, and the few among the nonconformists 
who held fast by the theology of their fathers, 
seceded from the various congrt^gations and formed 
themselves into Independent churches. In Bir- 
mingham the seceders built a meeting-house in 
Carres Lane, which was commenced in 1747 and 
opened in 1748. It was capable of hulding about 
450 peffaons, and this remained the only accom- 
modatioti for the Independent or Congregational 
Church in Birmingham until the end of the 
eighteenth century. It has since been twice 
te-buiit and several timea enlarged, but of 

these changes we shall have more to say 

While the "faithful few*' of nonconformity 
thuH protested ajj^ainst the errors which had crej 
into their churches, there was not wanting in th 
EstahUshed Church of tho reahn a little hand- 
ful of her ministers ready, as our great satiJ 
has finely said, " to quit the insulted temple 
pray on the hill-sida''* Among the first 
stand forth and protest against the indifference 
and corruption of tho time were the founders 
Methodism, John and Charles Wesley, and Geo^ 
Whitefield. It is not necessary that we ahou 
in these pages, enlarge upon the persecution 
which these men endured throughout the country 
during the earlier years of their labours. In 
Birmingham, whither John Wealey came in 174J 
<* the stones flow on every side ;" and throughoij 
the district known as the Black Country 
salfered similar — and often worse — persecutio 
** I look with reverencse," says Thackeray, 
these men at that time. Which is the sublime 
spectacle — the good John Wesley, surrounded 
his congregation of minors at the pit's mouth, 
the Queen's chaplains mumbling through thei^ 
morning otHce in their anteroom, under the 
picture of the great Venus, with the door openl 
into the adjoining chamber where the Queen 
dressing, talking scandal to Lord Hervey, or 
nttering sneers at Lady Suffolk, who is kneeliii 
with the basin at her mistress's side."t 

**The artillery of vengeance," says Kuttoij 
"was pointeil at Methodism for thirty year 
but, fixed as a rock, it could never be beate 
down, and its professors now enjoy their senti 
ments in (|uiet" For some considerable tin 
after the planting of the sect in Birmingham 
adherents were " covered by the heavens, equa 
exposed to the rain and the rabble." I Aft 
ward s they held their various meetings in a 
in SteeDiouse Lane, in the occupation of a 

* W. M. THJicKKRAT : Lnctarei on Utd ionar Q«airv«t,-^orlBi^ 

popQUr edition^ toI. x, p- Slfll] 
t ib. p. SIS. X HaUon. 

Btfir Ota AaemtAn Tm veiled.] 



ker, atid fiubsei^uoutly they obtained the us« 
be okl play-houae, in Moor Street, at the open- 
ing of wkioh John Wesley himself preached, 
,on the 21st of M/irch, 1764. William Hutton 
aptly sums up the career of thk eminent 
devoted Christian, *' whoso extensive know- 
'ledgo and nnhlemished manners^" he says, "give 
ns a tolerable picture of apostolic purity, who be- 
I lUvtdy as if he were to be saved by faith, and 
Jaboured as if he were to be saved by 

Tba origina] meeting-house in Birmingham of 
ti)9 Bocisty of Friends, oommonly called Quakers, 
is aaid to have been in Moumouth Street, where 
there exiiUd, before the making of the Great 
Western Railway, indications of au old burial- 
\ ground. Between 1 702 and 1 705, a meeting-house 
ed in Bull iStreet, which, although very 
Bred, and twice enlarged, u sUil in exiist- 
I eiiG6, and remains the i>nly abmle of the society in 

btich were the Chna^hes and Beets of Bimiing' 

Itam daring i\\% first half of the eighteenth century. 

[ A9 yet the Roman Catholics hail ftoJeil to make 

I any progress in the town since ttie destruction of 

I Uic Chujuh of St Marie Magdalen, in 1688, The 

litUa ehapd at Edghaston was still the only place 

(if worship belonging to tlmt oomm unity in this 

neighboui'hood If we except the Unitarians we 
may consider Dissent as yet only in its infancy in 
th« townj but these little churches, which we 
have seen arising in the weakness of infancy, 
were dtistined in the future to bear no unim- 
portant part in the work of enlightening the 
people around them, in dispelling the clouds of 
ignorance and immorality, in co-f>perating in deeds 
of love anfl mercy, in endeavouring to make the 
world better and the lot of suffering humanity 
easier — to prove a blessing to thousands of the 
toiling sons of Birmingham yet unborn. 

About the year 1 760 the Unitarians of |liir- 
mingham established a Free School on nearly the 
same plan as the Blue Coat School ; the fuundation 
being Intended to support and educate about 
eighteen boya imd eight girls, who were to be 
employed in various kinds of work diu'ing a 
portion of their time, in such a manner as would 
best fit them for future usefulness. In 1701 a 
building was purchased by the society in Park 
Street, and about £1,200 expended on its im- 
provement. In this the number of hoys wia 
increased to 36 and givh to 18, but in later years 
the benefits of this excellent institution have been 
confined exclusively to girls. Tlic newer building, 
in Graliam Streetj will be described in our notices 
of Birmingham in tlie nineteenth teulury. 



4iititt»u -I ^'ui^" Coftthea into Englanil— Coach P*f»i« HoraeTtiaolc- OinjKiftHiun cnctiuntereJ by the tarly Coachca — A Binnfnghftiii 
» Cumch to l«ri»— Infliieiicc of tnvelltng o» Uie Progmia qf tiie T<jrwu— The OM Iniu of BiiminghAiQ— Rothirell'a CoACb, 1781. 

Ii may be interesting to our readers to pause for 
a lew miuQtea in the history of our town^ in order 
Ui take a glimpse at our ancestors of the eighteenth 
€etitur%' on their travek j and to make a few notes 

I the old Birmingham coachea. 

Jtitougb the intrtJil action of stage coaches into 
Engkeid took place as early as the middle of the 
atveiitee&th century, they di^l not become popular 

for many years ; and those who could afford to do 
so performed their journeys on horseback ; as did 
Samuel Johnson and his bride on their wedding 
journey to Derby ; and many otheirs, looking back 
on the pleasures of riding through shady country 
lanes, or along the bard hnn roads during frosty 
weather, regarded Uie innovation for many years 
with disf&Tour. The writer of one of the tracts re- 



(How ttm AtiuBttoft' 

printed in tlic Harlcian Miscellany* pronounces 
** those coaches and caravans " to be " one of the 
greatest mischiefs that have happened of late 
years to the kingdom, mischieTous to the public, 
destructive to trade, and prejudicial to lands." 
He charges them fiiBt with "destroying the breed 
of good horses, the strength of the nation, and 
making men careless of attending to good horse- 
manship ; " secondly! with ** hindering the breed 

Sir William Dugdales Diarj* we le 
early as 1679 there was a Birmingh 
London. Under date July 16, II 
** I came out of London by the stage 
Bermkham to Banbury/* Who was t] 
prising originator of thii old " Bermiclma 
we cannot now ascertain. ^M 

The facilities thus early offeped for fll 
people to travel, doubtless* exercised aa j 




of watermen^ who are the nursery for seamen ; '* 
and thirdly with **leftsemiig his majesty's revenue,*' 
But notwithstanding the opposition, with which 
every innovation has to contend, the stage coach 
held its own, and became the recognised mode of 
travelling for more than two hundred ye-ars, in 
various forros, and the new convenience was not 
long in finiling iU way into the Midlands. In 

* Hm Qrvul Caocani of BagUnd.'* 

on the town, as regards local im] 
well as in enabling the workmen 
visit the metropolis, and to pick up' 
*♦ Home-keeping youth," eays our gtea^ 
**have ever homely witflj," and it 
almost impossible, without the means 
with other great centres of industry an< 
for a community isolated as Binning] 
other latge towns to have made such 

Bftw ottr Ancr«t«rs TrivclleO 1 



the mdustrial arts, and in othitr way a, 
historj" of the town, from the mid^Ue 
to the end of the seventeenth century, gives 
eridence of. 

The next Birminghmn Coach of which we haye 
any it»i;oTii is that of Nathaniel Roth well, ninning 
l>etwecn Birmingham and London, the journey 
being "performed (if G<jd permit) in two daya 
and a half/' 

The contract hoth in appearance and conve- 
nience between these old coaches of the first half 
of the eighteenth century and the coache.s of the 
period which immediately preceded the introduc- 
tion of milways, is weU depicted in a scarce little 
collection of Talttf of an Aidtqumry^ published 
about iif ty years ago. 

** In my own young di^a>" says the writer of 
these To/^, "they [the st^e-coaches] were not 
formed of that glossy material which now reflects 
the ever-changing acenes as they whirl lightly and 
rapidly along> but were constructed principally 
of A dull black leather, thickly studded, by way 
of oniamenti with black broad-headed nails tracing 
oot the pttneld ; in the upper tier of which were 
four oval windows^ \nth heavy red wooden 
f ramefl) and green stulf or Icathor curtain^i. Upon 
the doora, also, there appeared but little of that 
guy blazonry which shines upon the qundrlngw 
of the present time ; but there were displayed in 
large characters the names of the places whence the 
oofich started, and whither it went, stated in 
quaint and antique language. The vehicles them- 
selves varied in shape. Sometimes they were like 
A distiUer's vatp somewhat flattened, and hung 
equally bt\lanced between the immense front and 
hack springs ; in other iuBtances they resembled 
A vioUncello-caae, which was past all compaiiaon 
the mofit fashionable form ; and then they hung 
m A more genteel posture, namely, inclining on to 
the back Bpriiigs, and giving to tliose who sat 
whhin the appearance of a stiff Guy Faux, un- 
CAitlj seated. , . The coachman, and the 

IQAtd, who always held his carabine ready bent, 
or At ire now say, eocked, upon his knee« then sat 

togetlier; not as at present, upon a close, com- 
pact, varnished seat, but over a very long and 
narrow boot, which passed under a large spread- 
ing hammer cloth, hanging down on all sides, and 
finished with a flowing and most luxuriant fringe. 
Ik^hind the coach was the immense basket, 
stretching far and wide beyond the body, to 
which it was attached by Irtng iron bars or sup- 
ports passing beneath it; though even these 
seemed scarcely equal to the enormous weight with 
which they were freqaenlly loaded. .... 
The wheels of these old carriages were large, 
massive, ill-formed, and usually of a red colour ; 
and the three horses that were affixed to the 
whole machine — the foremost of which was helped 
onward by carrying a huge long-legged elf of a 
postillion, dr^sed in a cocked hat, with a large 
green and gold riding coat — were all so far parted 
from it by tlie great length of their traces, that 
it was with tw little difficulty that tho poor 
animals tlragged their unwieldly burthen along 
the road. It groaned, and creaked, and lumbered* 
at every fresh tug which they gave it, as a ship, 
rocking or beating up tli rough a heavy sea, strains 
all her timbers with a low moaiiing sound, as she 
drives over the contending waves." 

Of such a coach the reader will see a rough 
delineation in the facsimile of the rude woodcut 
at the head of I^othwell's handbUlj which we give 
on another page. In later years, the Birming- 
ham coaches, at any rate, presented a somewhat 
different, and less sombre exterior, wliich 
Thomas De Quincey has very graphically de- 
flcrihed. '*Oace/* he says, "I remember being 
on the box of the Holyhead Mail, between 
Shrewsbury and Oswestiy, when a tawdry 
thing from Birmingham, sume ' Tallyho ' or 
* High-flyer,* all flamiting with green and gold, 
came up alongside of us. Wliat a contrast to our 
royal simplicity of form and colour in tliis plebeian 
wretch I The single ornament on our dark ground 
of chocolate colour was the mighty shield of the 
imperial arms, but emblazoned in proportions as 
modest as a signet rinf? beare to a seal of office. 




[Hov our Anoeston TmvetlvdL 

Even this was displayed only on a single pannel, 
whispering, rather than proclaiming, our rcktions 
to the mighty atate; whilst the beast from 
Birmingham, otii green-and-gold friend from false, 
fleeting, perjured Brummagem^ had as much 
ivriting and painting on its sprawling flanks aa 
would have puzzled a decipherer from the tombs 
of Luxor."* 

not long before a considerable improvement wa 
effected in the spe^d of the Binmngham coachea. 
The first ** Flying Coach'* in England of which 
any rof^ord can be foimd was that running between 
Birmintjham and London, It is announced in 
Walkers Birmingham Paper, of April 12th, 
1742, (Ko 26), as follows:— "The Litchfield and 
Birmingham Stag© Coach sets out this mnrning 









Tlie slow rate at which these lumbering old 
coaches travelled, — about three miles an hour, — 
grew in time to be a source of great dissatisfaction, 
and to none more so than to the busy, restless 
people of Binningham^ Discontent has ever 
been the precurser of improvement, and it was 

* TaoiiAa Di QcnxcxT : The EngUab HaO Co*«h 

rWorki : 

(Monday) from the *Rose Inn* at IIoibouTn Bridge, 
London, and will be at the House of Mr. Francis . 
Cox, ih€ Angd and Hen and Chickens, in the High \ 
Toumf Birmingham^ on Wednestlay next to dinner, i 
and goes the same afternoon to Litchfield, and 
returns to Birmingham on Thursday morning to 
breakfast, and gets to London on Saturday night, i 
and so will continue every week regularly with a 

Bow our Asciaaton TraTelled ) 



Igood ooaeh and able horses," To perfonu tb© 
Fjoomey from London to Birmmgham lu two days 
and a half does not sound at all like " flying " to 
modam ears, accustomed to travelling the same 
distance in a few horns ; but to the people of 
1742, it was a startling innovation, they never 
haviiig conceived of a greater speed than three 
or four miles an honr. 

The merchants of Manchester and Liverpool 
were far behind Birmingham in the matter of 
trmTelling^ It was not until 1754 that the former 
stilted a " Flying Coach," of which it was an- 
•miouneed that " incredible as it may appear, this 
coach wiD actually (barring accidents) arrive in 
London in four days and a half after leaving Man- 
chester. " Three years later Liverpool eclipsed her 
rival by mnning a coach (^called a ** flying machinit 
cm steel gprings^*') which occupied only three days in 
the journey between that city and the metropolis. 
Still Birmingham seemed determined to lead 
the van in improvements in this as in other 
matters. The Annual Register for the year 1758 

ti]p«i<ribes an improved Birmingham coach, which 
^presented as going without using coomb, or 
oily, unctuous^ or other liquid matter what- 
to the wheels or axles; its construction being 
such as to render all such helps useless. The in- 
ventor had engraved, on the boxes of the wheels, 
^ the words ** Frkthn Annihihted^ and it was as- 
H^ sorted tliat the carriage would go as long and as 
^■Mgr* ^ ^ot longer and easier, without greasingi 
^*l6m any of the ordinary stage carriages will do 
with greasing. ** If this answers in common 
practice/* adds the writer in the Annual Register^ 
^'ii is perhaps the most useful invention in 
mechanics that tliia age has produced.^' Whether 
the invention realised the expectations of its 
B originator or not we cannot say ; but as we do 
" not hoar of it in connection with modem coach 
building, it is probable that the ** friction anni- 
B hilatof " liaa passed into the limbo of ingenious, 
H hut tm|imctkabl6 inventions, of which the vast 
H Ebtary of patent specifications could afford 
thoitaaoda of example.<i. 

The discomfort of the jolting, rolling, lumber- 
ing coach was not the only drawback to the 
traveller's enjoyment. The wretched condition 
of the roads, and the difficidty of proceeding at 
anything like a good speed, afforded great facilities 
for the successors of those "minions of the 
moon " who plied their calling so successfully at 
Gad's Hill, It was by no means an infrequent 
occurrence for the passengers to alight at their 
destination mimis money and all other valuables 
they had incautiously carried with them ; unable 
to pay for the accommodation of the inn, or even 
for a necessary supply of food* The early numbers 
of the Gazette bear frequent testimony to the 
dangers of the road, and the wisdom of that custom 
at which we of the nineteenth century are prone to 
smile, viz., of the traveller making his will before 
proceeding on bis journey. The earliest notice 
in that journal of an adventure of this sort refers 
not to the traveller by stage-coach, but to one who 
preferred the older and pleasanter mode of travel- 
ling — on horseback, ** An eminent tea merchant, 
in Cornhill," one Frederick BuU, was journeying 
from Wolverlmmpton to London, in October, 1742, 
and " was overtaken on the road by a single Man 
on Horseback, whom he took for a GentJemwt ; 
hut after they had rode three or four miles to- 
gether, he then ordtretl him to dtiliver, trhkh 
Mr, Bull took to bt in J tat; hat he told him that 
he was in Earned^ and accordiugly robh'd him of 
about four Guineas and his Watch, and after- 
wards rode with him thri-e miles, till they 
came near a Town, when the Highwayman rode 

A few months later the Gazette chronicled an 
attack on the Coach. On the 18th May, we 
read, ** the Birmingham Stage Coach was robb*d 
about two Miles from Banbury, and about an 
hour after the Robber}^ was committed, the noted 
Sanshury and Ids Accomplice, who have infested 
these Roads, were taken, being drunk, and asleep 
among the Standing Cora" The "noted Sans- 
hury " was executed shortly afterwai'ils. 

The highwayman of that period| as we are 



fHoir our AncBtfam TmvtUed. 

continuftlly reminded in romances of the ** Eoolc- 
wood " and ** Paid Clifford " school, was often a 
cbivalrone and high-minded gentleman, of whom 
the famous Claude Duval was a notable example. 
They wore favoured occasionally with a visit 
from one of these high-minded gentry in the 
neighbourhood of Birmingham. On October 
let, 1750, tho Gazetie reported an incident 
of the kind bo frequently referred to hy the 
admirers of the old ** knights of the road." On 
the previous Wednesday Mr. Henry Hunt, of 
this town, ^' was stopped on Sutton Coldfield, in 
the Chester Road, by two Highwaymen^ wbo 
robb'd him of his Watch and Money; but on Mr. 
Hani askmg him to give him ha/:k f^ome silver^ the 
Highwaymen rdnm^d him six shlUinga^ and imme- 
diately rode across the Coldfield, and robVd another 
gentleman in sight of him, and then Kjde quite off/' 
There is, however, one other adventure on the 
road chronicled which eclipses this of Satton 
Coldfieldj both for cool impudence and gentle- 
manly bearing on the part of the "Collector." 
On Tuesday April 30th, 1751, the ** Shrewsbury 
Ctirravan," wo are told, was stopped between the 
Four Crosses and the Welch Ilarp by a single 
Highwayman, ** who behaved very civill}^ to the 
Passengers, told them that he was a Tradesman 
in Distress, and hoped that they would contribute 
to hia assistance." The bat thus iinceremoniously 
passed round, was liberally received, for we are 
told "each Passenger gave him something," so 
that the whole contribution amounted to about 
four i^ouuda, *' with which be was mighty weU 
satisfied.*' But although a " tradesman in dis- 
tress," he had evidently — unlike hia brothtjr 
tradesmen — a soid above coppers ; for we read 
that he ** retmm*d some Halfpence to one of (hem, 
mf/itig he never took Copper.'* He then told 
them ** there were two other CoUeciors on the 
Road, but he would see them out of Danger, 
which he accordingly did." This gentlemanly 
thief may have heard at tho theatre, or read in the 
play itself, of the scruples of Ancient PistoM on the 
score of the uglier words ** rob ** and " steals" but 

his ingenuity provided him with even a l)ett< 
name than ** conveyancer," He evidently fel^ 
however, that the officers of justieo had fooHsli 
prejudices against even the innocent pursuits of i 
** collector," for as he left the company whom hi 
had 80 generously escorted out of danger, 
read, he " begged that they would not at their 
next Inn mention the Robbery nor appear against 
him if he should be taken up hereafter." 

Before leaving the subject of travelling for the 
present, we may glance for a moment at the old 
inns of Birmingham, A writer on the Birming»j 
bam inns of the 16th century,* enmneratea xdn<i 
taverns at that period ; 7%^ Cock and The Ba 
Lijon in Digbeth ; The Talbot and The Dogq 
Spiceal Street ; The Dolphin^ in Cora C heaping! 
The Horse Shoe, in St ^lartin's Lane, (said to hav 
takon iU Jiame from the arms of the Ferrers family) I 
The Swan ; The GiirUnd ; and The Starr, in th 
High Town. Later, the White Hart (wbere tbd 
fatal basket of clothes arrived, carrying th^ 
dreaded plagne with tlieni) was establishetl ; als 
the Fhrnr-de-LiSf in Moor Street. It was at Th 
Dog that John Cooper lived, about tlie year 1500, 
who gave a croft near Steelhouse Lane to make 
"I^venlays*' for the people of Birmingham j 
from whence the unlovely street which noi 
crosses the said croft takes its name. The dona 
of this first recreation ground to the town wa 
pennitted to bait a bull in tho Bull King once a 

The most interesting of the inns named above 
is the Stcan^ wkicli, during the earlier days 
coaching, was ffie Hostelry and Coaching House 
of BirminghanL It was from this house thatt 
Eothwell'S eotches ran, and to which they 
turned^ as will be seen from his handbill ; and 
throughout the coaching era The fiiffaw figur 
prominently in many of the Gazette adverti 
ments of Coaches to and from Birmingham and 
various parts of tho country. 

Besides the Swan, an inn in Bull Street, called 
r/w? Saracen's Hm, and The Ca$ile (in High 

* QoolAd on pftve of TO Ihla work. 

ltoaidrmm..ifBu.«ti.iji«,i.i ULB AND NEW BIEMIKGIIAM. 


3tiect) were also well-known Coaching Houses, 
l2yt£ Ai^fel and Ben and Chkkem m High 
Slreei, (or "the Hi^h Town," as it waa then 
' called,) was oko rapidly rising into prominence as 
mCoacbin^ House. It wad from this house, a^ we 
kavB Men, that the hi-dt ^^ flying coach'' started; 
and from the date of the commencenjent of Artis 
Gazdie to the end of the coacliing ikys this re- 
iiiajni»d one of the principal houses "on the i-oad/' 
[in the earliest notice of the house (quoted in our 
IchapUur on ArU'g Gazette, *) it is simply styled 
M* The Hen and Chickens." The names of the 
Liiecupieis, previouB to 1770, were ujiknown to 
[the rocent historian of the house, but from the 
announcement of the **flpng coach" in 1742, it 
a]ip*3Ar» to have been at that time in the occupa- 
tion of Mr. Francis Cox; as it seems also to have 
bf^en in the next year, from an advertisement 
^ which appeared in the Gazette of Deceiuher 12, 
1743, announcing the sale, — "to the best Bidder, 
[tjn Monday, the 19th of December instant, at the 
Dwelling-House of Francis Cox, tht Angel and 
lien and Chickens^'' — of **a messuage now known 
hj the sign of the Red Lion," in Borde^ley. The 
[ition to the sign of ** the Angel ** was probably 
by the new occupier of the liuuse, who 
limt«rDd upon it at or after Christmas, 1741, — in 
liUJ probability Mr. Fmucis Cox himself^ To this 
inn. Of rather to its auceessor the Is'ew Sttvct 

*' hotel," in later years, came many of the moat 
eminent men of their time, of whose visits — as also 
of the later history of this celebrated hotel itself — 
we shall have to speak in future chapters. 

To whichever of the^e old inns the traveller 
ref^aii-ed, it is to be hoped that like Shenstone he 
** found the wannest welcome,*' diiferent indeed 
from the culd and formal reception accortled to 
the traveller by raO at the huge hotel of the 
present day. How different in these old days, at 
the Swan or the Hen and ChlckeiUi (the modern 
hotels have risen above the vidgarity of a "sign*') 
or other of the cosy old hostehies to be found in 
every tc»wn through which a coach passed, 

" What cosy old parlours in those days," says 
Dti Quincey, " k»w-roofod, glowing with auiple 
fir^, and fenced from the blast of the doors by 
screens, whose folding doors were, or seemed to 
be^ infinite ! What raotherl}^ laudladios ! won, how 
readily, to kindness the mnst hivish, by the mere 
attractions of siiujiliuity and youthful innocent-^, 
and finding so much interest in the bare circum- 
stance of being a traveller at a childish age ! Then 
what Idooming young handmaidens ; how diflerent 
from the knowing and TvorLlly demireps of modem 
high roads I And sometime.^ grey-headed faithful 
waiters, how sincei'e and how attentive by com- 
parison with their flippant successurs, the eternal 
'Coming, sir, coming/ of our improved generation," 

ry nf Cfimo In Blnoiugltajn-ltUeiicM and ilUiluUig-Thi.- Pri«uu4ioit« yf tarliei^ tliuea— ♦* Bria«wcll Hoiiao "— Eulftj^iciDcnt 

Feoii the records of the old coaching days, 
with their pleasant associations of shady roatls 
\m^ with blosssuming hedgemws, of breezy 
i:<imiiignti, and of snug country hoetehries, to 
tht< history of damp and mouldy prison-houses 
ami their inmates, is a sorry change indeed ; 

but it becomes the duty of a faithful his- 
torian to show the gloomy side of the picture 
as well as the bright, and, however unweb 
come the interruption may be, it is a ueccssary 
part of our story. 

" It is easy," says Button, " to point out some 
plar^^s only on'S-thii'd the magnitude of Birming- 



[The Old Ptmoci of mn 

ham, whose frequent breaches of the law, and 
quarrela among themselves, find employment for 
balf-a-dozen magistrates, and four timea that num* 
ber of constables; whilst the business of this 
was for many years conducted by a single justice.'' 
He ascribes this law-abiding characteristic of the 
people of Birmingham to the industry of the 
people; the hand employed in business having, 
he says, "less time, and less temptation, to be 
employed in mischief.*' To the absence of " idle 
hands " in the town, therefore, may be attributed 
the smallne^s of the gaol accommodatiuu necessary 
previous to the year 1733. 

Id earlier times the lord of the manor hold a 
tribunal on liis own premises, and probably, as 
was usual in such cases, a rude prison in some sort 
would be annexed thereto, with such implements 
for punisliing as were then in use ; as, the stocks 
and the whipping-poat, which, as we have seen, 
were afterwards removed to the Welsh Cross* After 
the fall of the Bermingham family, one of the 
lower rooms of the Leather Hall in Nev7 Street 
was used as a prison; *' but,* 'says Hut ton, "about 
the year 1728, tchtk tnen slept an enemy came^ a 
private agent to the lonl of the manor, and erased 
the Leather Hall and the Dungeon, erected three 
houses on the spot, and received their rentt^ tiU 
1776, when the ti>wn purchased them for £500, 
lo open the way/* Up to this time the only 
entrance to New Street from the High Town had 
been through a narrow passage, similar to that at 
the entrance to Castle Street. In tlie day?<i of 
the Leather Hall it acquired (from the use to 
which the basement had been put) the name of 
the BuvfjfOii Entry, and tliis name remained fox 
many years afler the building of the houses in 
place of the old hall. 

From 1728 to 1733, the town had no other 
place of detention for offenders, except a dry 
cellai', belonging to a house opposite the site of the 
demolished Leather Hall. On the 9th of Sep- 
tember in the latter year, however, a meeting of 

the inhabitants was held in the chamber over tha 
Cro^ at which it was ''unanimously agreed upon 
that aDungeon be forthwith erected at the Publick 
expense of the said Parish, at the place commonly 
called Bridewell House, near Pinfold Street ;" 
This was, according to Hutton, "of all bad pL 
the %vorst ; . • * dark, narrow, and unwholesor 
within; crowded with dwellings, iUth, and du 
tress without, the circidation of air is prevented." 
Its gloomy, forbidding aspect without is well 
picted in the engraving on page 104, wliich is" 
taken from the lithographic print by Mr* Under- 
wood, contained in his aeries of views of *'Th» 
Buildings of Birmingham, Past and Presenti'' fl 
work which is now becoming scarce, " 

This old ** Bridewell" was like moat of th© 
provincial town gaols of that period; and what 
they were the reader may learn, if he can endure 
the recital of the sickening details, from the 
journals of visita paid to these wretched dens in 
1773-5, by that noble-minded philanthropist, 
John Howard. 

WHietber the exemplary morality attributed by 
Hutton to the people of Birmingham suffered a 
relapse after the building of the new dungeon, 
we cannot tell; but it woidd certainly appear 
that the gaol soon became too small to accommo- 
date its numemus prisoners; for, in 1757, it wa^ 
found neceiisary **to take down the Three Houses 
fronting Peck Lane, in order to enlarge the Prison ;" 
whiv:h proceetling was decided upon at a mooting 
held on the thirteenth of September in that year* 
This building remained the only local prison until 
the erection of the building in Moor Street, in 
1 795; ami was nut destroyed until 1806, when tbe 
building materials were sold for £250* It 
been immortidised in a sarcastic triplet relating 1 
one of the latest wakes and * bull baitings,' ^ 
the authorities of the day 

* Spoiled the wake, 

And stole the stAke, 

And took the btUl to the Daui^eon.' *' 



I SuoT^f of Lcu^i TruilM fttikl \tft»ufiwinrt'it--ExpuriniBTiU In CottuQ S|>tiintnK— 4oUn Wymlt— TI»b Weighing Mmnhln^— <Sftlxnrv nf 
pit In 1744— Tbp Gun Trnflf^-Bucklcs-Uutl^jua— " Toy*.'* 

now Uikt! a sk^coiiiI i^knce at the Trades 
of Binniiigham. It wilJ he temomh^ied tliat our 

f KiUT^nr ^ronght ns to the close of tlie seven- 

tith cpntnrv, at which j>eriod the *Hransition " 
wn» completed, and Itirmiiigham had ceased to he 
known merely for her works in iron, and had bo- 
ctitne famous for those inmimerable luanufacttires, 
both useful and beautiluJ, by which she earned 
the title of "the toy shop of the world." 
f It will be a matter of surprise to those who ai-e 
luainted with Mr, Tininiins*a interestmg 
rolume, referred to in our ftrst notice, to I earn 
thai the trade w*hich is now centred in the south 
nf LnncoBhire, and» indei^d, has become the staple 
Imde of that district, was born in Limiingbam. 

•*I^ng before fiiclmrd ArkwTight bad com- 
mMmM the Oirecr which ended in a colossal 
f*>rtunc^' aays Mr, Titnmind, *Hlie process of 
'tfpintiing by roDers ' was fii-at trittd in Birmiug- 
Tbe first thread of cotton spun by 

chinisry, •* witliout the aid of human fingers," 
WMB produced in the year 1700, at Sutton Cold- 
fidJ^ by John Wyatt. by an ananginnent of 
foikrvin a small mod*-], •♦without a single witness 
io the work, tlie inventor (to use bis own words) 
boang 'ail the time in a pleading but trembEng 
•nspejase/ ^ The invention was put into practical 
op«mtion in BirmiDgbam, an engine being fixed 
III *•• large warehouse near The Well, in the 
Upper l*riory," and " turned by two aaaes walking 
roQod an axis." The process was continued on 
them praoiiMB (called the '^Cotton Spinning 
Mill **) for ec»me time, the inventor, Wyatt, being 
jotood by Lewi« PauL to whom the invention has 
•ocnfitimea errooeously ]M?en nttributod — and, at a 
bter pniod, by Thomas Warren, the bookseller, 
who publtjd^ed Johnson * translation of Lobo*s 
AhjfmmOf and with whom, as we have seen, 

Edmiuid Hector had lodged during the eai'lier 

years of his professional career in Biruungham. 
The three cotton-spinnere, however, were unsuc- 
cessful ; Warren had sunk n thousand pounds in 
the 8]}eculntion, and in February, 1740, became a 
banknipt. Misfortune followed the expertmtut 
throughout its career, the mill and machinery 
being offered for sale several times, and eventually 
the little trade died out. St HI the fact remains, 
that ** the first trials of the process of * spinning 
by rollers' — the key-stone of the great cotton 
trade of England — were made in our own town 
long before Arkwrigbt had studied and perfected 
the machinery on which his fortune was based ;'*♦ 
and it is more than probable, that, bad a Matthew 
Boulton been at the back of the inventor, to do 
for Wyatt and his cotton^sp inning ^machinery 
what he did for Watt and the steam engine, Bir 
niiiigluuu might have become the centi'e of that 
great industry, and the sound of the loom and the 
shuttle might never liave been heard in the groat 
cities of the north. 

John Wyatt may be said also to be the in- 
ventor of the weighing machine for carriages, 
carts, and wagons, which has undergone scarcely 
any alteration since be originated it. But even 
this invention was not put into practical opera- 
tion until 1767, after Wyatt'a death, which 
occurred in 1706, He was followed to the grave 
by ilatthew Boulton and John Baskerville^ the 
latter having, says ^Ir, Tim m ins, "anuytd him- 
self on the occasion, in a rich suit, decorated 
with gold lace/ 

The Jacobite rebellion of 1745, and the alarm 
excited by it, gave considerable stimidas to the 
local tnule in implements of warfan}, especially 
swords. It will be remembered that during the 
Civil War the Birmingham sword blade manufac- 
turer, Kichard PoHer, refused to supply a single 

' E. Hmuttlos. 

weapon to tlie BoyiJists, althongli they offered t^ 
pay him Jibe rally if he wouJlI do so j but the 
sword-makers of the eighteenth century woiiJd 
appear eithor to havo become better allected 
toward Ihc! House of Stuart, or eke to have 
possessed fewer scniples on the score of political 
morality ; for they willingly executed large ortlers 
for tlie army of ** bounic Prince Charlie.*' 

Occasionally tliese coiisignmeuts of arms for 
the reljels were intercepted by the Govemineni 
In 1744 a large chest of bask et-hil ted «wonl?, 
8eut from TSirmingham to the Belle Sauvage, on 
Ludgate Hill, London, was seized ^nd taken to 
the Tower ; and in October of the »ame year a 
seizure was made of two thotisand Bintjinghaiii 
cutlasse^H, which had lieen sent to the Saracen^B 
Head. No swords were ordered from Birmingham 
by the Government, so far as is known, until 
ueitrly tlie end of the eighteenth centur}^ 

The gun trade — which had been introduced, or 
at any rate greatly stimulated, under the circum- 
stances detsuled in our former chapter on the local 
trade*, would probably be influenced by the 
rebellion to even a greater extent than sword- 
niaking. After the peace of 1714, when the 
demand for military guns hatl hi all probability 
ceased, the manufacturers wotdd lie in a position 
t-i^ tnrn the new trade to account in the production 
uf fowling-pieces and other guns required for the 
trade. The Jacobite rebellion, however, could 
seiTe to stimulate the manufacture of guns to be 
urted in warfare, and the too frequent necei^ity for 
new supplies of these instruments of death, 
during the ktter half of the century, effectually 
prevented this branch of the trade from falling 
into decay. 

One of the principal fancy tmdc^^ which had 
arisen in Birminglmm iluring the *' transition 
period " was that of manufacturing Buckle, 
William Hutton observes that the ** Kevolution 
was remarkable for the introduction of William, 
Liberty, and tlie Buckle;** but this statement is 
incorrect as far as the buckle is concerned. They 
had been worn as early as the fifteenth century, 

but had fallen into disus<% and had been onlj 
revived at the period of the Eevolution ; and th| 
resucitated fashion reigned for nearly a century, 
lliey were first made at Bilston, but the facilitte 
for making them at Birmingham gradually dreK 
the trade entirely away from the former plsr^ 
They were generally made from a metal calle 
Tutania, a name said to have been derived froTi 
that of its inventor, one Tutin ] but many infcrio 
materials were also used, — pinchbeck, ** silvefl 
plate/' and an inferior kind of white metal ciille 
by the workmen " soft tonuny." A stoiy wa 
told by the late IMatthew Davenport 
Becorder of Birmingham, in an address deliver 
before the membei's of the Birmingham and 
Midland Institute, of a workman, who, whil^ 
engaged in making buckles of this latter mat 
was overheitvd by his master cursing the wea 
most vehemently. ** Why do you curse th 
wearerl" asked tlie astonished master." ^* Becau 
replied the buckle-maker, *' I know when 
wears these buckles he will curse the makei; 
and I thought I would l)e befc^re-haml witl 

Buckles were made in various forma and sir 
frum the small buckle on the bantl of the hat 
tlie knee to the huge shoe-buckle which near) 
covered the foot ; and were sold at from oB 
shilling to hve and even ten guineas a 
When the fashion was at its height it waa almo 
universal, and Birmingham supplied the great 
number of these articles for America and 
whole Continent Ala9» however, for the mnt 
bility of human fashions! In 1790 the buck 
was detluoned, ajid the ** elTeminate shoe-string! 
took its place. In vain did the imfortun 
buckle-makers endeavour to arrest the cliangio 
fashion ; it was ** void of feeling^ and deaf 
argument," as tljeir petition truly expressed 
They appealed to the Prince of Wales in 1791» 
to assist in giving employment to ** more tl 
20,000 persons" who, in consequence of "tl 
prevalence of shoe-strings and slippers** 
in great distress ; and both he and the Duke i 

Loi^lUimfkettti«.inUiel8lhC«fitury.} OLD A^D KEW BIRMINGHAM. 


Vork onleKul their geutkiaen aiul servants to 
iliticiuij shoe-atriJigft nnd return to tbe lmclvles». 
U WHS, however, all in vain. Another petition 
was fonvardetl the next year to tbe Uuko and 
Dti*^h«a^ of York ; bttt tho fashion was dead, and 
no attomxit to galvanize it into life again could 
liope to succeody and eo one of the grejit staple 
Indes of Bimilngham died out befoi-w the dosa 
i4 tbe eightct-ntlj ceiitur3\ 

Another of the trades dependent upon the 
fickle 1:0*1 des8 Fashion wm that of Button-makinji^, 
During tlie latter part of the seventeenth and the 
fiTBtl half of the eighteenth centiir}% the buttons 
worn were for the mr>st piirt made with the needle, 
and thia branch of industry was encouraged and 
|»rittei:t«d by various Acts of Parliauieut in the 
ftftgn of Wilhani and Mary, to prevent the 
inip*>rtation of all forc^ign htittons made with 
hnir, as well aa to prevent the nianufacture of 
I cowered buttons, leaving a haioi substance under- 
nrtiith the hair or silk exterior. Prints of that 
piTiod exhibit the costumes as being covered wilh 
)mtt«)ns to an extravagant and ridiculous exteut, 
wherever a button muld possibly be nffixetl to 
ihi* garment ; a fjishion whieh is thus satirized in 
ono of the come^liea of the jieriod : 

* Next, then, the slouching tle^ve, aad uar krgt* buttoas, 
" Aod now our coats, fiauk brond, like shoidder-inuttoa ; 
••Fmctfd wnih fine c«1o«t» — aimrk't, green* and ikyi 

** With sleeves so liifge, ibey'll give ua wing* to fly. 

* KtfJtt yc*r 1 hope they'll cover aaiU and all, 
^And every button like ti teuaLs ball." 

But about the middle of the eighteenth centiury, 
the laaMon in buttons changed, and those of 
iDobair and satin gave place to othera of metal, 
inostlj gilt. Tliis was .a department of trade in 
which Birmingham could i^xcel, and button 
inaldog speedily became one of the staple trades 
of the town. Gilt buttons were soon in great 
I demand. According to contemporary prints and 
d«9aript]0»a» the krge cloth coata were loaded 
witli them, almost a^ extravagantly as those of 
their fathen had been with buttons of other 
iiiAt4snmK A writer in the St, James s Chronicle 

of 1763, referring to the display of tradesnieti 
aping their bettei'^i speaks of **the myriads of gold 
buttons" which they wore, aiSl makes sjjecial 
mention of a smith with whom he had couie in 
cuntact, wearing "a coat loadeil with innumerable 
gilt buttons." The much -admired butt-ons in- 
creased in favour rather than diminished, and 
wore adopted by many ladies in preference to 
woven ones, and so the button makers ticduished. 
It was truly, as it has been happily de- 
scribed, the Augustan age of button making in 

Aiid while buckles, and buttons, aud we^ipons 
of warfai-e were in steady demand, there wiis also 
a large miscellaneous trade growing up in the 
light steel tfn'8 which were tlien comiug into use. 
** Toys " bits t.00 often been a misused and niis- 
undirstLHid term, as regards the products of 
iJirmiiigluim. Our toim has never, like Hollnnd, 
taken ** pleasure in making what the children of 
England take pleasure in breaking ;" cliildren's 
toys have never been a part of the manufactures 
of Birmingham. A ceutiiry ago, before the dis- 
covery of gold and silver in large quantities in 
the far west of North America, an<l before the 
gold of Australia ha<l been dreamt of, those 
precious metals were of course very much scarcer 
and dearer, aud the steel toy trade of that period 
corresponded to a great extent with the jewellery 
trade of modern times. Brooches, studs, bracelets, 
watch-chains, chitteJaines, sword-hilts, and scores 
of other light ornaments and trifles of various 
kinds, wei-e then made of ^^teel aud were very 
fashionable ; and it was in the manufacture of 
these that Birminj^ham earned tlie title given by 
Edmund Burke, which has remained to the 
present day, of **the Toy shop of the World." 

In the manufacture of nearly all these lighter 
articles, gi-eat excellence was shown by Matthew 
Boulton, but the story of his great enterprise is 
one which will require a chapter of itself ; we 
therefore leave the survey of our local trades 
for thf* prpseni with the simple mi-ntiMn of hj^ 



tJoUn Biultervlll* 

JOHN baski:k VI i-r.E. 

Bnrl^r I31rminghaiii riiutw*— Pfti*Xoivllle'ft purly life— lib residencimt ilnay IJill— " The paitern-card of hii trade"— Product konn ^r Mm 
f rfr^»— Sale of his i>lAi>t - II is will, bU\ 

The history of the art of PriuliDg, as practised 
in BirjiTiiighani, does tint carry us very far back 
into antiquity. The earliest book wliieh has yet 
been diseovered with a local imprint is dated 
1717, and bears the following lengthy title : 

A Lovftl Oration, givinjf a abort Aeoount of soveral 
Plots, some purely Popish, othei-s mixt ; the former 
nontrivM and carry M on b}^ Pflpists, the latter both by 
Piipista and alBO lYotestauts of the liigh-Chiinh Party, 
united together against our Church and State : As also of 
the many Delivemnces which Almighty God has ?oueh- 
saf'd to us since tht^ RefonnatioiL Composed by Jawie* 
Parkinson, formerly FeUov\* of Linuohi College, in (^xfonl, 
now Chief Master of the Frte Hchool of Birrain^hani, in 
Warwickshire, and spoke by hiii Son, on the 10th day of 
Dccemlver, 1710. And now Publish M at the Request of 
Captain Tbetford, Captain Shiigborou^h, and »everal other 
Otrieera of the Pritieea Own Eoyal Itt'ijinieiit of Welsh 
Fusileers^ and other Loyal Centlenieu. To which is 
iinnex^d by way of Poatcript, thn Author's Letter to the 
Reverend Mr. Higgs, Rector of St. Philip** Church, in 
Lirmiugliam, who upon hearing thia Loyal Six^eoh, wbb 
so difipleas'd and iiettVd with it, and particularly with 
that Passage in it that rehttes to bidding; Prayers which 
iie constantly uses, that on the Sunday following ho could 
not forbear reviling the Author in hia Sermon, oalltnjt; the 
Speech a scurrilous Discourse, and the Composer thert^of a 
Shmderer and Calumniator. Birmingham ; Printed and 
Sold by Matthew Unwins, near St. Martin's Church. 

Ill all probability, theI^^fu^e, Matthew Unwina 
wns the first printer estubliBhed in the town ; and 
that he bad not long iiit!oduced the enlightening 
art into Birmingham at the date of the " Loyal 
lUution " naay be assnmed from the fact that the 
author of that tract had publisbed another, two 
years previously, which he had been obliged to 
have printed in Londinn It is just possible, 
however, that another fjrinter may have preceded 
Unwins by a year or so, us there exists (in the 
possession of Cbarlea H, Bayley, Esq., of West 
Brumwich) a uni<:iue copy of a little duo- 
decimo of sixty-four pages entitled ** A Help 
agiunst Sin, in our ordinary discourse. , . . 
Published by the author It H. [Amersley], 

ChyrurgeoD in Walsall, .StalTordshire, 1719. 
Binninpfnim, Prlnhd hij II. B,, in New Street** 
In this work the author refers to **a little book 
called *Adviee to Sunday Barbers/" which ''some 
years past" he had •*put out/' of which, he says, 
there were but few printed. If, tlierefore, this 
**Ad\Tcc^* was printed in Birmingham, it would 
be earlier than the ** Loyal Oration," although 
the fact of I he earlier tract by the author of the 
latter being printed in London goes agabisvt the 
supposition that ** H. K** was the first Birmilig- 
bam Printer, or that Matthew Fnwms printed 
the *' Adnce to Sunday Barbers," 

But the earlier productions of the local press 
were, like those of most other provincial towns, 
very poorly printctl, the paper, ink, and letter- 
cutting being of the commonest possible ipiahty. 
Beauty was a thing not to he tlioaght of, so long 
as the printing served its primary purpose of 
being legible. The wretchedness of the work- 
mansliip in these e^rly books and pamphlet^ and 
the desirability of producing books which should 
be beautifid as well as ustful, appears to have 
been inij^rcs^ed upnn the mind of Jolm Basker- 
ville, a young writing-master, who taught a school 
in thc! BuU King in 1737. He was a native of 
Wolverley, in Worcesterslure, but, like many 
other young men of genius or ability, was 
attracted early in life to the busy and rapidly - 
increasing town which had arisen on the boniers 
of his native county. Here he started in life as a 
cutter of *' grave-stones in any of the hands," 
at his house in Moor iStreet — ** his window shite/ 
says Mr. Timmins, " being still in existence, ami 
allowing, in a marvellous manner, the form and 
style of the * letter' he afterwards delighted to 

As a teacher of writing, the beauty of his pen- 
manship was celebrated; he possessed **an 

Jo.111} tla»1cerTiUe ] 


exqokito tasta far ornament and proportion 
g€!tit?niUy/' • anti this caused him to excel in all 
bis various putsuits. From stone cutting and 
penmanship, he turned his attention, in 1740, to 
^f^anning. Ik-ing fond of painting, ** he either 
iutnvlticed, or cifectcd an entire revolution in, the 
maotifaetur^ of japanned articles," t and rendered 
r^ his productions in this department admirable 
\ Mporka of art In 1745 he took, on a building 
leiaey a pleafiant Uttio estate of eight acres, (on 
the site of whit^h Broad Street and Easy Row 

Land in high condition, Part of which is laid out 
ill Shady Walks, adorned with Shrubberies, Fish 
Ponds, and Grotto ; the whole in a Ring-Fenoe, 
great part of it enclosed by a Brick- Wall." 

Ifere he continued his business as a japamier, 
and, with the eccentricity of "which we have 
idready given an example in the case of John 
Wyatt 8 funeral, set up a carriage, every panel of 
which was a distinct picture, accurately and 
beautifully paintodj — which Hutton aptly des- 
eribes ns ** Ih^ paUerti-oard of his trade" — which 





now stand,) to which he gave the name of Easy 
Hill, and erected for hiniBeif a house in the centre 
of the grounds, out of the din and bustle of the 
busy town, and yet within easy access of it; '*but 
the town," says Hutton, **a3 if coascioua of his 
rit, followed his retreat and surrounded it with 

In the advertisement of the sale of the house 
and its mirroundinga, in 1788, the estate is said 
to eomiat of -' about seven Acres of rich Pasture 

* fUwiuai fistrm ' OirratnghAm im«l Itn vi<>tn1ty, part S, f ^ 1t>. 

was drawn by a handsome pair of cream-coloui^ 
horses. But while thus busily engaged in making 
a fortune out of the trade of japanning — "sup- 
plying the common and material wants of 
mankind ''^•* the love of art, and the aspiration 
for something higher," says Mr. Timmins, "found 
full expression, and produced unparalleled results/* 
John BaskervUle's love of letters, and his dissatis- 
f jiction with the existing state of typography, led 
him, in 1750, to turn his attention toward the 
subject of producing such examples of the art of 
printing, as should do honour to the noblest i 



iJcitui i!i#kervtU» 

worlds of the ancient ckssies and of the inodt 
emiriout jiuthura of our own country, SevonJ 
ycara wen* speat iji experiments, and upwards of 
six hundred pouuds were sunk l*efure he could 
produce a single letter to ploase his fa.'^tii lions 
taste, ** luid some thousands," adds Huttou^ ** be- 
fore the shallow fittream of pro tit bej^niu to flow/' 
In 1757 ho published his first work, a magnifi- 
i'fut edition of Viigil, sold at one guinea, for 
which Matthew Boultoa was one of th« ftjiit sul)- 
scrib<3ra ; and thia was foUowt^d in 1 758, by a 
haudBouio octavo edition in two volumes, of the 
Poems of John Milton^ and a quarto, entitled, 
"Avon, a Poem," written by the Rev. John 
Iluckelh In 1761 followed a »piarto edition, in 
f(jur volumes, of the works of Joseph AddLsou, 
and an octavo, in three volumes, of the Dramatic 
l}^^Jrk8 of Congreve. The fame year saw the 

ue of the second volume of his splendid quarto 
series of the classics, Juvenal and Persius, 
whiidi was followed, at inter vais, by Horace, 
Lucretius, Catullus, Tibidlus, and Propertiu8, 
Kallust and Florus, and Terence, In 17t53 he 
iFsued the magnificent Cambridge Edition of the 
Bible, an immense folio which has been pro- 
nounced to be the finest example of typography 
ever produced ; another (smaller) folio Bible bears 
his imiirint, but this is said to be spurious. Bo- 
sides these greater works he also publisihed an 
edition of the Book of Comuiuii Prayer, a quarto 
edition of Barclay's famous ** Apology *' for the 
Quakers, an edition in four volumes of Ariosto, 
a Greek Testament, a duodecimo eeriea of the 
classics^ and several contemjxiray works of inferior 
importance, among which was one, a mere quarto 
tract of a few pages, which from some cause or 
other is the rarest of aU his famous productions, 
— ** An Ode tu the Vakh [mcj which conveyed 
the Princess Charlotte to England. " Possibly the 
curious misprint in the titio-page may have somo> 
thing to do with its rarity. 

These works, which, as Macaulay says, *• went 
forth to astonish all the librarians of Europe," are 
still highly prized for the excellence of form, 

elegance* and sharpness of the lottera, the bril- ' 
liauey of the ink, and the beautiful whitoQ»^sg i 
of the paper, as compaix*d with that of other liooki j 
of the perio^l, and have become famous not merely 
among the librarian!^ and litoniti of Europe, , 
but throughout the world, among book-lover»| 
everywhere, by all who am appredate be^iutiful | 
typogmphy, whether as professors ol the art or a§ - 
lovers of literature generally. ** Wherever the 
art of printing is adminnl, and its choicest works 
are collected^ tb<ire the liirmingham printetl work* 
of Jidrn Baskerville tind a liigh and honourable i 
place. Not only did lie dedign and cast lm\ 
imrivalleil tyjje, but he made liis own jmjM'r, 
prc^pared his own ink, worked his own presses, 
and probably bound some of his own books.* 

In 1765 he made advances, through his friend 
Benjamin Frankliu, then in Paris^ to the literati 
of France, with a view t<j the disposal of his ' 
types in that capital, but the French were at that 
time 80 reduced by the war of 1756 that ** so for 
from pursuing schemes of taste, . . , thoy 
were unable to reptur their public builcUngs, but 
suffered the scaffolding to rot befoi^ them*'* f 

Being unable to effect a side of his printing 
business, ho continued to make use of the valuable 
materials for producing beautiful and readable 
editions of various standard works until Ids 
death, which occurred on the 8th of Januar>% 
1775. He died childless, and the splendid appli- 
ances for the art of printings which had cost him 
years of labour and many thousands of pounds, 
failed to find a purchaser in this country, and to 
OUT lasting disgrace, were allowed, after lying a 
dead weight four years, to go out of the country 
which prides itself on its noble Uteratua*, and 
were purchased by a literary society of Paris (or 
£3 JOG, and ufed to print a splendid edition of 
tlic works of A^oltiure. 

** Invention/* says Hutton, *^ seldom pays the 
inventor. If you ask, what fortune BaskcrviUe 
ought to have been rewarded with t * The moei 
which can be comprised in five figures.* If you 

' 6. Timmiiu, 

t Qatton. 

Jokit BMJkenrlUeL] 



furthf^r a«k, wimt he po&^essed I *Tho />^^/; but 
none of it squeezed from the press, ' What will 
th6 fibade of this great nmn think, if capable of 
tivinking, that be liftR spent a fortune of opulence, 
|Jifp of genius, in carrj^iiag to jK'Tfef*tion the 
of alt hvnnan inventions; and his protluc- 
tioDff filigUted by his country, were hawked over 
Ell rope in quest of a bidder t" 

His character and appearance are well deacribod 
hy Huttou, who knew him during the latter part 
of his life ; he says : ** In private life he was a 
humourist; idle in the extreme; but his inven- 
tion was of the true Birmingham model, active. 
He coiihl well deaigw, but procured others to 
cxocuto ; wherever he found merit, lie careBsed it 
He was remarkably polite to the stranger, fond of 
ahow ; a %ure mther of the smaller eize, and 
cidighted to adorn that figure with gold lace* 
l>uring the twenty -five years I knew him, though 
in the detdine of life, he retained the singular 
traces of a handsome mam If he exliibited a 
peevish temper, we may consider, good nature and 
intense thinking an? not always found together. 
Ta»te accompanied him tlirough the dillerent 
walks of agrioulture, architecture, and the finer 
arts. Whatever parsed through his fingera bore 
the lively marks uf John Baskerrille/' His 
aversion to Christiiuiity, in which he expres^d 
a di»l)c]iirf, in his will^ leil him to prepare for 
himself a mausoleum in his own ganlen, that 
he might not lie among ChristianSj'and directed, 
in the same document, thai his remains isbuuld be 
plor^d tlu'rein. This interesting but ^'0Ulewhat 
painful docaiment — painful in it« abnegation of 
that faith which alone can lighten the gloom of 
the grave — nuis as follows : 

'*Mtnionirn1um» That I, John Btiskerville, of Binning- 
Iwiiii, ill the '!OUjity of Warwick, on the 6tli day of January, 
17X3, do ro»kc this my Inst Will and Testament, aa 
IbQovB I— Firit. I give, htHjueiithf, and devise unto my 
#I#cittori bervaft* r iniinod, the snm of £2000 in trust, to 
dk^hug* a jtettlnmrnt mftde before Tny marriftge to my 
viTe Sarmli* 1 obio givo to my executors the lea^e of my 
hoDM fttid J«ind hHd uud««r the lati:^ John Riiaton, in trust, 
fw tJii* •tvU nw nnd b^nf'fil of Samh my wife, during the 
term of hrr nAturml life, md after her deceaie to the uses 

mentioned below. And my fniiher Will is» that the sum 
of £2000 shall hp raise*! and pnid to my wife out of my 
book dvhU, stock in trndc, and household furniture, plate* 
ttivd china. (N, R. The use of my furniture, plate, and 
china, I hare already given by deed to my wife for the 
tiTni of her naturnl life, hut this will makes it entirely 
lu!r own.) I Appoint and desire my executors to make 
an inventory and appraisement of all my offects whatso- 
ever, within six weeks after my decease, I nlsn give to 
my executors hereinafter named, the sum of £100 in tnist, 
to the sole use and benefit of my nephew John Townsend, 
to whom I aUo give my gold watch, as a keopsake, I 
further give to my executors, in like trust, the Kum of 
£100, for the sole use and benefit of my niece Rebecca, 
the wife of Thomas Westley, as an acknowledgement of 
relationship, I have heretofore given by will, to each of 
the last named relations, a more considerable sum : but as 
I have observed, with pleasure, that providence has blessed 
their endeavours with success, in acquiring a greater 
fortune than they ever will expend the income of ; and as 
they have no child or chick to inherit what they leave 
behind them, I have Htayod my hand, and have thereby 
reserved a power to assist any branch of my family thiit 
may »tand in need of it, I have the greatest esteem and 
resjMJCt for each of the above parties, I also give to my 
executoiTi, in like trust, the sum of £150, for the use of my 
nephew, Richard Tovvnsend, butcher. I further give to 
my executors the sum of £300, to be disposed of as 
fnlh>w8 :— To Joseph, Thomas, and Jacob, sons of Thomas 
Marston, by hU wife Sarah, my niece, £100 each, a:* they 
shall Bcvcrally attidn the age of 21 years. But should any 
of them die berorc they come to that age, then such 
hundred pound shall be divided, share and share alike, 
among the survivors. I also give to Isaac, the son of 
Thomas Mnrston, the sum often pounds for pocket money ; 
and my iH^i>iAon is, being patronized by his worthy uncle, 
Mr. Thonnis Westley, who, if he behaves well, will put 
liim in the way to acquire »u eaJty fortune. But 1 must 
not forget my littk favotuite ; I, therefore, give to my 
cxecutom, in trust, the sum of £fiOO, fiPr the sole use and 
benefit of 8andi, the daughter of Ferdinatnl and S,irah 
r>e SlieiTc (my wife's daughter) to be paid her when she 
attains the age of 21 yeaii* ; but should she happen to die 
before that iirc*, my pleasure is, that my wife shall have 
the ilisposal of the sidd £r»fu/ at her plcasuiie, signified in 
her lost \V'ill. I also give to my executors the further 
sum of £1400, in tnist, to the following uses, riz, :— to 
ReWccA Westley, John Townsend, Richard Townsend, 
and to the four sons of Thomas Marston, by his wife 
Sarah, my niece, the sum of £200 each, to become due 
and payable (only) on the day of my wife's futtire 
marriage, which, if she c buses, 1 wish her happy equal 
to her merit ; but if she eoutinues a widow, the lo-^t 
mentioned legacies ore entirely void, I further give te 
my executors, in trust, all my goods and chattels, house- 
hold furniture, p]at«, and china, not disposed of as above, 
to the following uses : first, for the payment of my 
several legacies and debts (if any) nud all the residue and 
remnindcT (except the sale of my lea«« as below) to the 
8ol« xvm and benefit of my wife Sarah. I further five to 



fJiiUti UiiJikcrrtU* 

my executors, in tmst, the rt^%'ersion of the lea**e of my 
bouse and, hold under my good friend the late 
Jonathan Raston, together with fixtures in the honse 
(particularly the fire place, including the grate, lender^ 
kc, together with three leaden figures) all plantationti of 
trees and ahrubs of every kind, including my grotto, and 
whatever contributes to beautify the place : That the 
whole shall be sold by public auction, after being properly 
advertised in some of the London and neighbouring cnuuty 
papers. The money arising from such srtte, I give to tUi^ 
following u»ea ; (viz.) first, £500 to the «iinmittc<j, for 
the time being, of the Protestant Dissenting Charity 
School of Birmingham, in trust, towards ertreting a 

Sarah « by her laat will. As I doubt not the eh lid tea of 
my late worthy friend will cndenvour to tradnce my 
memory, as they have already done my character, in 
having my lease on too easy terms, I therefore think 
projwr to declare, that at the time T took the afon^^id 
leaiie, I paid the full value of it, and hare laid out Utile 
hm than ilfJOOO upon the premiss. But as the increaa^^ 
of the town has since enhanced it» valun, I have maije an 
acknowledgment nn above, which I always proposed to the 
3on» of my most valued friend, and which >vould have 
been much more considerable if they lia<l rffrained fh>m 
in^iuriously abuting mc. I liad even given, by will, the 
ruveraiou of my Icaaea to Martha Kyland, ujion the death 

Fnm thf rn^mrtng i'« thf (ff*f nUikm Q/HutUmt 37SL 

comniwlioUH building for the use of the said charity ; 
£700 more, arising from the aaid sab', I give and 
livqutath as follows i £iO(» to be shared equally bet wet* n 
the aons of Thomas MarstOTt, by Im wife Samh ; to 
Jiinathan, John, and Richanl TonuHenil, my nephews, 
£100 each ; to Rebec i!a Wewtb-y, my neice, £100, and 
my will is. that thi« and the al>ove-nientio«cd sum of 
£100 shall t»e entirely at her own dispo^l, and not 
subject to the coutroul and intermeddling of her husband. 
And yet her n-ceipt alone «lml] be a snfiicient discharge 
to my executors : £800 more arising from the said sale, I 
give to the three sons of Jonathan Runton, in even and 
equal shares, viz, :— John, Daniel, and Jo«i&h Huston, 
What further sum of money may arise from the sale of 
^^the above lease, I give to the sole disposal of my wife 

of my wife*** eldest son, and my intended sue<!easor^ Iml 
her unprovoked [wtilant maUce, and Hpl*'ea» and abusiv 
treatment of me without cause, convinced tur of hi 
rancour of heart, and determined me as above. M 
farther will and pleasure i$, and I do hertdiy declare, 
thai the deviae of my goods and chattids, aa above, 
ui»on this exjiress condition, that my wife, ifi ctmcr^ 
with my executors, do cauw my body to l>e buried in 
conical building in my own premises, hervtofort* usc^d 
a mill, which 1 have lately raised higher and pain 
iind in a vault which I have prepared for it, 
doubtleaa, to many, will appear a whim ; perh<ip« it 
so, but It is a whim for many years resolved upon, 
I have a hearty contempt for all sujieratition. . * 
J expect some shrewd remark* will be made on Uiti «; 


r dedimtioa, by the ignoruit and the bigoted, who cannot 
I dkttDgiiUh betiveea religion and iuperstition, and arc 
tBOfffat to belieTe that morality (by which, I understAnd, 
ill the duties a man owct to God and his fellow creatures) 
is not iuScient to entitle him to divine favour.* , . , 
This morality alone I profess to be my religion, and the 
L nil« of hjj actions, to which I appeal how far iny pro- 
>aa aud practice ha^ been consistent. Lastly, I do 
b«reby appoint my worthy friends, Mr. Edwani Palmer, 
lad JoAiah Roston, niy wife's brother, joint executors of 
this my will, in mo«t prfect confidence (as I know the 
integrity of tliCT hetirta) that they will, jointly and 
eotdially, execute thl^ my most important trusty com- 
mitted to them with integrity and candour, to each of 
wlioan I l<?mTc six guineas, to buy a ring, which I hope 
thty will consider as a keepsake." 
Ill wttn«M, Ac, Sarah Stuart, Joseph Bridgowater, John 

fiafikerviUe's house, which became the property 
of Mr Ryland, was partially destroyed in the 
RiotA of 1791, of which we shall have to 
speak hensafter, but much of the fa^^e of the 

house may still be aeen nmid the huddled mass of 
buildings at the lower end of Broad Street j it 
being now used as a manufactory. When the 
land was laid out for wharves, in 1821, the cofBn 
was taken up, and was found, together with the 
contents, to be in perfect condition, and was 
finally rednterred in one of the catacombs under 
Christ Church. 

** Great as the triumphs of the art of printing 
have been, and numerous as are the laurels which 
Birmingham has won, there are few nobler 
chapters in our local story than those which 
record how, a century ago, in a material and 
commercial age, John Baskerville made our 
town famous throughout the civilised world for 
the production of the best and greatest works 
of man, in a style which has rarely been equalled, 
and even now, has never been surpassed.*^ ♦ 



ColSflve Bow ami Aon 8t«et— " Coajirree SUle Close "—" FcrTflt*8 FoUy'*— OosU Gttoji— Grm^lh of Ui€> town In the dir^ction of Kt, 
HtfX'A^^ld VanxhaU— HatUicw fioolioa on Bnow HOJ— '"TTw BaluUtion "—Footpath through New Hall grquii<la^roellwi I 
flwulpfaoiia of Blnninghun. 

I Ocn la«i general survey of the town was taken 
' from the interesting prints by W. Westley in 
1730-31. We have since taken note of the 
grorwtb and appearance of Birmingham only in 
oocMsional details, and with refertnce to particular 
loGiUtaes. It win assist us in gathering together 
the aep«mite threads of our narrative if we now, 
taking our stand in the gallery above the dome of 
S4* Philip's, in the year 1760, once more survey 
the town as a whole, and take note of the extended 
baiind&ry, and the new objects of interest in the 

Looking first to the north, at our feet, we notice 
a few houses arising in wduit we have hitherto 
known only as New Hall Lane, but is henceforth. 


T BAxk^rviUpl will Wf hivt fvUovKHl the uiuaJ 
jw [KirtiobJi irhich refer to Clirlftlinlty . 

(as a building lease dating from 1745 states,) to 
be called Colmore Row, thereby perpetuating the 
name of the owner of the New HaJl Estate ; aa 
the continuation of the lane, ** called Bull Lane, 
but then speedily to be made into a street, and to 
be called Ann Street," was to keep in memory 
the christian name of the gronter of the lease, 
Ann Cohnore* Congrcve Street was a mere foot- 
path through a piece of land called Conygree Stilo 
Close, probably from its having been a rabbit^ 
warren ; hence came the name Coney-grove Street, 
which in time became corrupted to Congreve 

New Hall is still standing, with a portion of 
the surrounding grounds, but the town has 

■B. TUnmlna 

1 '20 


(tlintilnglmtu Ui ITtMl 

advanced sonifiwlnit thwart! s it On the we^tfcrn 
side of tbe town tho buildings are beginning to 
eiiiTound the pleasantly-situated little estate of 
John Baskci^ille, called Easy Hill, Rising in 
the distance, beyond Easy ITill, may l>e discerned 
a tall tower, which foniis an entirely new feature 
in the prospect, ha'ring been bniJt only about 
two years prenous to Ihu date of our present 
Burvey, — in 1758 — by John Porrot. This tower, 
which is seven stories high, was probably oii^n* 
ally intended for an observatory, although it lias 
been said— on what authority 'we cannot t^ll — 
that its builder, being a keen lover of the sport 
of coursing, — erected it in order to onalde him, 
when old age prevented him from taking part in 
such sports, to watch others engaged in it, from 
tho upper stories of the tower, It has been called 
*'Perrot's Folly," but is now more generally 
known as " The Monument," and from this naiue 
is derived that of Monument Lane, or, as it is 
now called, Monument Road.* 

New Street, we notice, is filling up mom closely. 
The are not now so many fields and gardens as 
before, and between St. Philip's and that street 
many new buihlings have arisen. The Baptist 
Meeting- house now stands on part of Guest's 
Cherry Orchard; Temple Street is built upon 
along its entire length. Beyond New Street the 
dismal-looking prison may be discerned, at the 
junction of Peck Lane and Pinfold Street, op- 
posits the end of Dudley Street, 

The Leather Hall Las disappeared from tho end 
of New Street, as already stated, and in its place 
the end of that thoroughfare is blocked (with the 
exception of a narrow gateway,) by a row of 
houses. The beast market is still hcbl in lUgli 
Street, but it is not destined to remain there long; 
an act being passed in 1769 to remove it to Bale 
End, and tho sheep and pig market to New Street, 

• In a recflDtly published work th« view frum thi» toirer, MrhjfM 
flrtt biiilt^ is reprcjiont' ' ng the U.>wcr ind domr of St, 

Philip's Churchy in on i r, stirroiind«d by tcarfTdUlitif^ 

loaking " like ah huge u .rwork," Tl^ia l«» Jiowei'er, en* 

tirely iucorrcct, at it wouid tiaro been ]NC»ail>te^ tiXita the jif ntJAtd 
towur and dome of St. Diilipa, to have iw^en, fr3Di tho diatanee* 
the HfalTnld «urrftnndliig Pcnof* Folly* or oven to toliave Wfttchod 
thct conmtenciMtnt of the buihiiiig of Uiat tower» 

(tlio pudding-bag end), between Worcester 
and Peck Lane, exactly opposite the Gramr 
School, ^vhere the bleating, gninting, and arj^iiealiB 
of the animals exposed for sale would not condud 
very much to the scholastic i^uiet generally su^ 
posed to reign in such quarters. 

Turning towards Si Martin's we find scaffoltlii] 
erected at the east end of tho building. The 
clmrchwardens liave ordered " the plan drawn by 
Mr. Hyrons, for building a vestry " to be ^arriQ 
into execution ; and that ugly excresence on th^T 
south side of the chancel is in cours* of erection 
Looking out along the crooked lino of 'Hhe sir 
called Birtey " we notice the new chapel of 
John the Baptist, which has taken the place of tlj 
worn-out building of the fourteenth century^ ; l>i| 
afi yet the square tower is not completed, Alon 
the whole of this street, beyond tho chapel an3 
** Tlie Old Crown," bouses have been built, as far 
as Camp Hill ; but nearly all have gardens, and 
those near the river have private walks down to 
the bimks of what is yet a bright ripplir 
stream, from which the disciples of In 
Walton may enjoy the gentle sport with pie 
sure and profit ; and at the upper end 
the street portions of the old deer park at 

Turning towards tho south-east the obje 
which first attmcts our attention is the n^ 
church of St. Bartholomew, surrounded by | 
pleasant churchyard, ** Wherever a chapel 
erected," oljsorvcs Hutton, ** the houses imn 
diately, as if touched by the wand of mag^ 
spring into existence." This is the case arou 
St. Bartholomew's, and the churchyard is rapid 
becoming the only green spot in the vicinit 
Cole^hill Street and Stafford Street are !>uilt 
upon, as is also the road to Aston as far as Gosta 
(or Goaty) Green, which does not yet entirely 
belie its name. About the origin of tho word 
/*,Oo$ta'V,|b gtK)d deal ^f spccuktion has been 
indulged in. Hutton fancifully conjectures it 
to have been Goose Stead, "once a track of 
commons, eircumscribod by the Sltiffortl Boad] 

Bfrmtii^^btin to irofv,] 

oij) AKT> m^w iinnnNanA:^L 

otliors Imve supposed it to bo a cormption of 
*• ga«tj'/* — from its exposed situation ; it is, 
baworer, far more probsible that tlio name k 
fioiiTiM] from the prevalence of ^jornf. and ling 
ID tlml locality, as the phrase ** gosty land " ia 
siiH occasionaUy used to denote land on which 
gOTse grows too profusely, 

ITie growth of the town in thia direction ba^ 
not yet efluced the country altogether. There are 
at least five acres of pasture land still remaining 
in Walmer Lane, as I^ncaster Street is called, 
which were, in 1759, "let to the highest bidder,*' 
at Chnrle^ Freeth'a Coffee House, The same year 
U remarkfible for the impetus given to the build- 
ing traile, from what cause it is now difficult to 
say — so that, according to the Gazette^ ** tljere are 
now more new buildings carrj'ing on in this Town 
ave been for many years past, and more are 
for, that oidy wait for hands to execute, 
which at this time are very much wanted/' This 
rapid ext^^nsion of building probably showed itself 
in the district to which we have now turned ; vlz^^ 
Steelisottsc Lane and Lichfield Street, and the 
hind lying between the first-named thoroughfare 
and the site of the General IIoFpital, the building 
of which Lad not as yet, however, commenced. The 

I tncr^ised number of houses in this locality is 
evidenced by the necessity for a new church, (St. 
Mary's,) which was built a few years after the date 
of our present sun'ey. 

Between Gosta Green and the place from which 
wo take our survey of the town lies the workhouse, 

I sitoated at tlw lower end of Lich^eld Street, at 
pnaieiit without either of the wings depicted in our 

I engmving on page 77* At our feet, on the eastern 

k«ide of SL Philip's church-yard, is the Blue Coat 
ckool \ not aa it appears in the nineteenth century, 

r'but in it6 original form, as shown in Westley's 
Froftfiect. In the distance wo catch a glimpse of 
Duddestan Hall, which has now become the 
**Vattxhall" of Birmingham, **a large gcntt^el 
pUMcre-garden, neatly laid out and planted, with 
h laige Bowling-Green," a place ** greatly resorted 

I k» \$j Ihe Inhabitants of Birmingham, as well as 

from other phicos."* As our i^eaders are already 
aware it was too fi^equontly the scene of the 
brutal exhibition of cock-fighting. J itat beyond 
lUill Sticct we notice the trimly- kept Squaw?, and 
tho Friends' Meeting House ; and turning north- 
eastward we reach the end of our survey at Snow 
Hill, where Matthew Boultorf is steadily working 
his way as a manufacturer of Birmingham ** toys," 
producing such sterling wMrk as should overthrow 
the vulgar prejudice— which even thus early 
insisted on the local wares being stamped " Lon- 
don made," f — ami convince the world that such 
contempt for the productions of *' Brumraayem " 
was uiKleserved, Little does he think, as ho toils 
in his Snow Hill factory^ that in a few years' 
time he will be engaged in selling ** what all the 
world desires to have, — Power," at the great manu- 
factory which is to make the name of Soho 
famous all over the world; himself being — as 
Boswell happily terms him — **au iron chieftain^ 
a father to his tribe.'* 

At the bottom of Snow Hill is an inn of the 
old-fashioned, comfortable sort, called " The Salu- 
tation,*' having good gardens, and two bowling 
greens, where the tired tradesman and artisan 
may, after tlie busincRS of the day is over, enjoy 
the pleasures of the country within easy reach of 
the town, never dreaming of the time when the 
green sward elndl have become a grimy coal 
wharf, and the air, which is now so sweet and 
refreshing, shall be laden with poisonous smoke 
and odours by no means enjoyable. 

Glancing a;^ain at the still charming grounds 
surrounding Kew Hall, we notice a foot-way 
running through the same, and envy the people 
who have such a delightful walk almost within 
the very town itself. But it is not destined to 
remain long for the public benefit By one of 
those selfish acts which are in the nineteenth 
century depriving the public of so many charm- 

• AH/$ Gaitttt, M»y iS, 1763. 

f " Thia it to giv« Kotloe ThAt &t the Pin Wanobou^e la Corbetfi 
Alloy, in the High Street, Biroilnghiim, are to bo •old, J&Hpk 
Altcn'i Ust London PinM, ns good at an procurwd by any ^ Ik* Jroit, 
and Of cheap at Ot L<mifo»t l»y John AUen, Peruke Maker.** 

—Arit'n Gftftttf, 17&2. 



[BinntnghAtn la 1T60. 

ing !»y-i>ath walks, the owuer of the estate, 
Charles Colmnre, Esq., fttt<?Tnpted in 1764 to 
close the gate of the Kew Hall walk against the 
people of Birniiugham, with the exception of a 
few "geutlonien and ladies who may wish to 
have keys for their convenience," — which keys 
Mr, Hollo way, the steward, "has orders to de- 
liver for their service.'* But the people were 
unwilling to lose bo pleasant a walk without a 
struggle. The matter was brought to a trial at 
Warwick Assijies, in 1764, between George Hol- 
loway and the inhabitants of Birmingham, and a 
veniict was given for the fonner, who^ on the 
19th of May in that year erected -a gate to 
obstruct passing over the road in question, but, 
we are informed by the OazcttCy the said gate 
"was broke down by a great number of rude 
people." It was not, however, by brute force 
that the inhabitants who had tried the question 
at law wished to retiiin the privilege, ond accor- 
dingly, on the Monday after this petty riot, they 
offered^ in the columns uf the Gu:eUi\ '* a reward of 
live guineas to any one who should discover the 
person or persona that encouraged and promoted 
the breaking the said gate in so riotous a manner, 
being determined to suppress any such illegal 
proceedings'"; and fuithenaore wrote and sent a 
letter to Mr. Hollo way, as follows : 

**BiniiingliaTu, May l&th, 17G4, 
** Mr. George Hollowny, 

**3ir, — Wo nre very much concerned at the riotous 
Proce^fdings of this Day ; aud have such ao AbhorrKuee to 
Pmcticea of tliig kind, that wo will gladly join you in dis- 
covering and punisbing the Oirenders in this or any future 
illegal Outrage tliat concerns the lioad in Question," 

As we muse over the struggle for this old right 
of way, we are brought back Imm our imaginary 
survey in 1760, to the time in which we live, 
w hen the old footpath is gone, and the grounds 
are gone also, as well as the people who obstructed 
and those who resisted the obstruction— all have 
passed away, and no one questions the ** riglit of 
way " now over the New Ibxll estate, — and now 
that pleasant foot-path has become a noiay street, 
which does not invite the rambler in search of 

natural beauty and peaceful retirement, for none 
pass along it unless called thither by business i 
other necessity. 

We cannot do better than conclude this chapt0 
with two poet kill descriptions of the town, whicB 
appeared in the Gazette in the year 175L The 
first is wrttten in the manner of Spenser, and 1 
evidence of thought and refinement on the part ( 

the writer. The Mr. B to whom the \ 

is inscribed was the famous printer of whom we 
have recently spoken, John Baskerville : — 


on, THJt 



Alttmpt^d in th^ Manner of Spencer, 
Inacnbcd to Mr, B — 

O B ! in whom, tho' rare, unite 

The Spirit of Industrie and eke the Ray 

< *f bright inventive Genius ; wliile I writo 

Do Thou with Candour liaten to the Lay 

Wliich to fair Birminghiim th« Muso slmU pay, 

Iklarking, beneath a Fable's thin Di<sgnisef 

The Virtues its Iiilmbitanta display ; 

Tliose Virtues, wh<jiiee tJiuir Fume, Their Kichi»a rise. 

Their nic« mechanic Arts, theii' various Mercbandije, 


On Avon's winding Bank^ with Flowers besprent, 
Whilom y-dwf^It a thrifty, sober Swaine^ 
On Care and Labour aye waa he intent, 
And lowing Herds, and Flocka upon the Plaine, 
And plenteous Crops, rewarded well his Pain : 
Clioap his Attire, and fnigal wore his Meals ; 
His Bags were swell'd with no dishoDest Gain, 
A hard rough Haud the Source of Wealth rt veals, 
Ne idle Hour be knows, ne Weariness he feels. 

High Industrie was he, of Parents poor, 
But soon by Labour, he removen had 
Their !'o?erty ; and from his well -got store 
Their aged Linihs with Decency y-clad ; 
But now, alas I their Bosoms waxen aad, 
That he, their only Child, ne Wife essays, 
Ne little Graadlings brought their Heart5 to | 
With idle Pariance, and with childish Plays 
To cheer, and lengthen out the Evening of thftr 


But near at Hnnd, In Eowor of Jeasamy 
And Roscfl, niixt with mre and curious Ar 
A Miiiden dwelt, so fair, that only she 


[fiAnningbmin tn IT 

Wit Theme of ewrv Tongiie and every Heart, 

Tet few to claim her Love might boast DetMjrt. 

Sith to her Beauty joined, was elcArly aoon 

A Wit so bright, a Mind with every Part 

Of SciotUMs io adorned* that well I wocn 

Her Bae«d in aatiunt Qreeee had boon the Muses 


All in the clear Conception of her Mind^ 
The ikirost Forms of Thingi deijuint^id wore, 
And the least Shade of Difforence she would find 
'Twixt every object brought into compare, 
Graco atill dUtingiiish'd her Fi-odm tluus rare 
From tho^e of common Artisti : Hm m&i Hand 
Obedient wru to eiet'ote, with t'am 
And Klcgunce, her Fancy's least Command : 
Getiisa y-clep*d she was, admii-«d by all the Lund. 

It chanc'd as on a Day the careful Wight 
On Hill and Dale, lu Field ttn<l Meadow sought 
A wandering Ewe, strayM from bia Flock by Nightj 
That Fortune to her I\ower hia Footsteiw brought ; 
He gax'd, admir'd, ant[ soon her Beauty wrought 
LHU Heart to Love, He wouM the pferleia Maid, 
f And long with bumble Zeal her smile besought ; 
[ The Blush of yit Idin^ Mmlesty be tray 'd 
At length her vantiuiah'd Heart and mutual Loye 

This happy Union soon [iro4luc*d a Ra(H» 
* Of dot-ile Soiisif iu whom the Mothers Mind 
J Her Ingenuity aad matchless Grace 
■ Shone with tlie Father*8 Persevenmce joiird, 
I And now to social Amity inclined 
\A Town tbey builden straight, high Birmingljam, 
' ^VJiere still lliuir nuiuerouii < UTspring dwell eombin*d, 
Wiofio UHefiil Thewes, and curioua Arts proclaim 
To all tb' ii<^lmiring World| from what rare Stock 

they came. 
This very ingenious porforniancti \faa published 
in the Gazette of January 28j iu the above-named 
year. The following, purporting to 1)€ a ktt^r 
from a Birmini^diam Mechanic to a frienJ at 
Warwick, had heeti writttsn as eurly 1733, but tbo 
modesty of the author had kept him from piintiug 
it^ until the nppeaiance of the Spenserian Fable 
suggeated its publication in the local journal : — 

A Letter from a Mflchamck iu the busy Towii of Bir- 
mingham, to Mr. Stayner, a CairvtT, Statuary, and 
Architect, in the sleepy Corporation of Warwick. 
Dear Friend 
If you can leave your Borough, atill and fair, 
To brwtho awhile in more aulphureoiu Air ; 
Can leave the Place where Heroes first drew hnMith, 
And, worn with toils, retttm'd and courted death j 


The Place for Cradles, or for Tombs §o fit, 
Where Morphou$, umlisturb'd, can nodding ait 
With ease aai aileat slumbers bear the away, 
And influence you all both Night and Day ; 
Then raise your Hca*J, and rub each heavy Eyei, 
And to your Nostrils Hellebore apply ; 
When broad awake, for Vulcan's Province steer 
Each Cyclop will rejoice, to see famed Stayner hete^ 
Nor fancy Semnoa' Caves with Forges found, 
Or ponderotis Hammers there on Anvils bound. 
If full Xorth West, twice seven miles you go 
You'll see the cloud above, the thund'ring Town 

Boldly advance, nor Salamanders fear, 
You'll be couvinc'd that Vulean^a Forg« ia here; 
Tliat Jineas" Shield diviito was made. 
Achilles* Armour, Hector's drfjailful Uhule ; 
Hero Guns and 8warils Cyclopean Hands divide, 
And here with glittering Anna the World is alill 

sup ply \L 
Here Iiuplemcnts and Toya for ilistant Parts, 
Uf various Metals, by mechanic Arts, 
Are finely wrought, and by the Artists aoUl, 
Whose touch turuR every Metal into Gold ; 
But 'tis in vain, ahos ! we boast our Skill ; 
Wanting thy Arts, we are deficient stilL 
Oh ! oomc and join us, teach ua to excel 
In Casting, Carving, and in Building well ; 
Vet here delightful Fabrieks* you'll behold 
Of Iron, Brass, and artificial Gold; 
In these great Mulcibor's chief Faetora dwell 
Whilst he rctjr'd to bis awful Cell ; 
Beneath Old Wedgb-ry'sf iturning Banks it lina, 
\Miere Thousands of his Slaves, with glaring Kyes, 
Around him wait, or near him do rewde 
In Suberterraneous Caverns, deep and wide ; 
Whore, by their Chiefs Command they sap Bko 

Supplying every Smithy Hearth with Coals ; 
There let thirm delve, whilst iu the growing Town 
In jolly Bacchanals our Cares we drown. 
Come, Stayner, come, then shall the circling glaas 
From Friend to Fiieud, in s[>arkling Brimmers pass; 
To Arts and Science every Bowl shall How, 
*TiU we as greiit as the old Grecians grow, 
'Till then farewell, thou Son of famous Angeto. 

Nor were these the only effusions of IocaI poet? 
in praise of their native towiL III tho laat ntontl 
of the preceding yeat — a few wtseka bofora ih< 
publication of the above — Mn Brodin dcdivered « 
prologue at the Tlieatrc, as follows : 

A Paoivocure {s}>oke at the Theatre in Birminghan 
in praise of the town, by Mr, Brodin) : — 
Athene, in Days of Yore, for Arts was fam'd, 
And Rome's immortal Glory stands proclaim'd. 

* The Moniiy that built them was got bf these metals, 

f Wsdaesburr, famous for Ooil Minns, uid subtarraucoua Flim. 

TliD Geti^nil 1Iom]i»UI } 



A ThOTne of no leas Honour cljiiTns our Praise, 

Too gremt, too copious, for my scnuty Fliraae, 

A Town wliicb Virgil's self might iiobly own ; 

Id itn Description he atrhiev'd Renown. 

Here Clink of Hammers, and repeating Blows 

Of w&rlike Sledges, terrify ita Foes. 

T© you fr»m Norway, Swtjden, and from Spain 

Toceasmt sails do plough the boistrous Main. 

From different Climea they steer each well-fraught Keel 

Of pUted Iron, or nu polish 'd Steel, 

Which wronght and bumishod by the Artist's File, 

They won^dring guze, nor know their Native Soil, 

To trace the various Branchtss of each Art, 

Tmnscfnds my Skill, altho' how fain my Heart. 

Some Bard endowed with more poetiG Fire 

Mn»t finish that to which I can't aspire. 

A nobler Subject Poet never cbose, 

A Maze wherein bis Ffincy he may lose, 

Plere Kajthacl or Da Vinci may divide 

"With Brother Artiste too the Peucirs Pride. 

No more let Semnos boaflt, her Artist God 

In Birmiugliam has fix'd his best Abode j 

Venus attends Mm with a Look serene, 

And Papbo? mourns to lose her Cyprian Queen. 

Thufl blest with every Grace the Powers can give, 

May Binniugham long flourish and e*er live. 

With thia prayer, which every man and woman 

of Birmingham should echo tchday, we close the 

present survey of the town. 



*■ tor m Bff|)lt«)— An Ot^ection anawerod^Tbe buildla« decided upon— First BuhttcHbeni— Mualn uml Churily— Nameu of tlie 
» of the biiUtlliM*^— Det*}rii^--Ho»int&l t\ The&tns— Tlie biiUcUng oompletod— ^Surly History of the losiiitution* 

Wbe:^ the year 1765 was drawing to a close, 

and the first touch of the coming winter led men 

to think of the poor, and ©specially of the sick 

poor, hy whom the icy hand of winter is always 

most keenly felt, an advertisement ap>peared in 

Ari^s Birminffhatn Gazette, K^ov. 4, 1765, as 

foUows : — 

*• A GENERAL HOSPITAL, for the Relief of the Sick 
and Lame, (dtnat^d near the Town of Birmingham, ia 
pncTOtiied would Ik greatly beneficial to tlie populous 
CVvuntry about it, as well aa that place. A Meeting 
therefore of the Nobility and Gentry of the Neighbouring 
Country, and of the Inhabitants of this Town, is requested 
on Thursday the 21st Instant, at the Swan Inn, at Eleven 
ia lhf> Forenoon, to consider of proper Steps to render 
rfleeiiuil ao mefal an undertaking/' 

This advertisement was drawn up by Dt, John 
Aih, an eminent physiciAH of this to\vn, who 
prae&ed during a considerable portion of the last 
cenltny, and resided in the neighbourhood of 
Baddeston, now called (after the doctor himself) 

Til© rapid increase of the population of Bir- 
mingham, and the danger attat:hed to many of 
the occupations which they followed, rendered it 
that some provision should he made to 

s^'Pply, in case of sicknes*? and bodily injuries, 
competent medical assit^ance, which the majority 
were too poor to provide for themselves. There 
were those, however, as there always have been, 
w^henever any useful measure is projected, ready 
to cast a wet blanket on the eaithusiasm of the 
projectors of the hospital, and— like their proto- 
type, Ebenezer Scrooge— reminded the philan- 
thropic doctor that there existed a workhouat^ to 
which was also attached an infirmary ^ and what 
more could the sick poor needl To this Dr. Ash 
replied in the following announcement, which 
appeared in the Gazdie of November IS: — 

" It having been objected, to the Usefulness of the 
above-mentioned design, that the present InQmiaiy 
eKtablished at the Workhouse, will answer all the 
Purposes of it, it may be necessary here to observe that 
more than half the ilauufacturers in the Town of 
Birmingham are not Parishioners of it, and cannot be 
entitled to any Pkelicf from the present Infirmary : Many 
of them are Foreigners, but the greatest Part belong to 
the Parishes of the neighbouring Country." 

At the meeting called by Dr* Ash, which was 
held on the date announced, and was well 
attended, it was resolved that **a Building for 
the reception of proper objects, be erected within 



[The Qeaeal nospltd. 

a measured mile of the Town of Birmmghatn, 
with all convenient speed, and that the Society 
for the conduct and support of this Hospital be 
known and distinguished hy the name of *niie 
Trustees of the General Ilospital at Birmingham, 
in the County of Warwick, for the relief of the 
Sick and lame/* Furthermore, a provisional set 
of rules for the gnvcrnmeiit of the proposed 
Hospitfll was adopteiJ, and a BubscnpLion com- 
menced which, in a few days, amounted to 
a thousand pounds, besides upwards of two 
hundred pounds aimual subscriptions which were 
promised at the same tima Amongst the princi- 
pal don<^ir8 were the Earl of Aylesford, (£W) ; 
the Counteas of Aylcsford, (XIQ 10s.) ; the Earl 
and Countess of Dartmouth, {£31 10s, aiid £21 
respectively) ; Lord Willoughby do Broke, (£31 
lOa); Sir Lister Holte, liart., of Aston Hall, 
(£21); Lady Ilolte, (£10 10s.); Sir Charles 
Mordaunt, (£31 lOs.) ; Sir Henry Bridgman, 
Bart,, the ancestor of the present Earl of 
Bradford, (£21); La^iy Bridgman, {£10 10a.); 
.Sir Roger Newdigate, (£31 10a.) ; Sir Henry 
Gough, Bart, (£21); Udj Gougti, (£10 10s,); 
Ciiarlea Addcrley, Esq., of Hams Hall, ancestor 
of the present Lord Norton, (£52 10s,); Charles 
Jeimens, Esq,, who is known as the editor of 
several of the plays of Shakespeare, (£50) ; 
William Dilke, Esq., of Packwood, (£15 158.); 
Mrs. Dilke, (£10 lOs.) ; and many of the 
principal inhabitants of Birmingham, including 
Dr, Ash, the promoter of the scheme, Messrs. 
Boulton and Fothergill, (Matthew Boultm^ of 
Sohu), Mr. John Taylor, ^Icssra Sampson Lloyd 
and Sampson Lloyd, junr. (founders of the Bank 
of Taylor and Lloyds, still in esdstence as Lloyds* 
Banking Company, Limited), John Baskerville, 
and naany families still well known in Birming- 
ham. Among other donations is one of ten 
guine^as from **the Muf»ical Society of Sambroke's, 
in Bull Street," who also became annual bu1> 
scrihcrs of two guineas; and thus was commenced 
that alliance between Music ami Charity which 
has ever marked the history of this noble institu- 

tion, and which has reflected as much honour oHj 
the disciples of that refining and ennobling art \ 
it has conferred benefit upon the institutioa 
itself; and, a^ Mr. Bunco observes, "from the 
humble asaocitition above named we may possibly 
trace the germ of those great Eestivala from 
which the Hospital has derived such essential 

From £1,000 the donations to this great 
undertaking soon swelled to £2,000, and the 
annual aubscriptions to £600, and the promoters, 
feeling themselves justified in commencing active _ 
operations, hold another meeting on Christn 
eve, when the provisional rules were confirme 
and a committee appointed. The mimes of 
first committee, the founders of one of the noblest 
institutions of which Birmingham can boast, 
were as follows : — 































• " Hifttory of the Blrmlnghain Oonoml lIotHtAl B.i»(l tti« Mkuiei 
F«inUv)|Iji," |>. S, to which wo itrQ ifidvtiU^d for Uit ihtKiVfi liit VkA\ 
itthur ioUroDtitiif detvili respecthis tlin (JtrJj htBlory of 

BciajiiUl 1 



The next business was to select a sit€ for the 
proposed building, and this important duty was 
entrusted to the projector of the scheme, l>r. Aah, 
who selected the laud in Sumraer Lftno on wkich 
the Hospital now stands, then in the possession 
of Mrs* Dolphin^ from whom the committee 

or part thereof unto a hue called Walinore 
Lane/'* Upon this site — which Hiitton charac- 
teriiea as " very iinsm table,'* being " in a narrow 
dirty lane, with an aspect directing up tlie hill^ 
which should ever be avoided/'^ — the biiOiling 
was speedily commenced^ a plan having been 


J 4] 


rr"^~* g^4iitttfiii»mii^illlilIilH^ 

Hp(ircbAfM?d, lit £120 per acre, **ail those four 
^H^H^Kpieoes, or pai-cels of Land^ Meadow, or 
^^IHHGrcnmd, situate, lying, and being together 
Dear a place cidied the Salutation, in Birmingham 
aforesaid, containing, by estimation^ eight Acres 
or tliareaboutSj be the same more or less, adjoin- 
Lug at ilia uppat end or part thereof into a Lane 
ihvn cttlkd Summer Lane^ and at the lower end 

..... SdmUfiii TJrrtor ica.\ tlir Imsf and Stiiiutd Johttmn UtC ffOUi*** 

obtained from a Mr. Vyae. It was deaignod to 
accommodate one hundred patients, and estimated 
to cost about three thousand pounds. The Com- 
mittee conducted the work of erection themselves, 
engaging Messrs. B. and W* Wyatt to act as 
superLiitendents or clerks of the works, at a 
remuneration of £150* Matters went on well 

* Waiin«r Laim : afterwunlii caUmI Luxtmmi^t Stnset 



fThe General Hoipitnl. 

during the year 1766, mi til November, wben, the 
funds being almost exhausted, it was considered 
exp^ient to suspend operations for the winter. 
In the following: M^^Jt (1<'^7), an attempt was 
made to revive the interest of the inliiibitant^s of 
the town and neighbourhood in the progress of 
the hospital, by appealing again for subscriptions; 
but it was all in vain. All the interest of the 
wealthier inhabitants was just then centred in the 
proposed Birmingham Canal, which promised to 
prove a profitable spec uhd ion ; and so, ivhile the 
funds of the hospital languished, it was necessary 
to limit the number of shares which a single 
person should be permitted to take in the canal 
speculation, so great was the anxiety to subscribe 
towards an object which promised golden rot urns. 

Unto February, 1768, no further note of pro- 
gress appears since the last recorded meeting of 

the lioard, and the finances were in a worse 
condition, if possible, than before, — inasmuch 
that the secretary's salary, only £10 a year, had 
not been paid. Another appeal for help was 
made in April, stating that the building was 
covered in, and that the rooms for patients were 
being fitted up. At a meeting held on the 3rd of 
May, the Board resolved that "a Mtisical Enter- 
tainment should be establL^hed," and appointed a 
committee to conduct the undertaking, consisting 
of the following gentlemen ; — Mr. John Taylor, 
Mi. Isaac Spooner, Mr. John Taylor, jim., Dr. Ash, 
Dr. Small, Mr. Henry Carver, juu., and Mr. 
Brooke Smith, 

This first "musical festival "^ — the forerunner 
of the famous series of tricmiial festivals which 
commenced ten years afterwards — is thus an- 
nounced in the Qazeite :■ — 

^'On Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday, the 7th, 8th, 
and Sth of Septemlier, the Oratorios of L'ALLEGRO, &c., 
ALEXANDER'S FEAST, and the MESSIAH wiU bo per- 
formed here. 


** Will be at the Theatre in King- Street, on Wednesday 

Evening, the 7th in«t. 


'*0n Thursday Evening, the 8th, 

' Between the wveral parts of which Mr. Pinto will play 

a Solo ; and Concertos will be introduced by the otbef j 
Perforniera, on their seyeral Inatramenta. 

' ' On Thursday Moroing will be performed in St Philip*^ 
Clmrcb, at Ten o'Clock, Mr. Handel's Grand IE DEITI 
and JUBILATE, with an Anthom of Dr. Boycea, suitabk 
to the Occasion, and Mr. Handel's celebrated CORONA-j 

** And the MESSIAH, or Sacred Oratobio, 

'* At the same Plaoc, on Friday Morning, tbe 9th. 

**Oii the Wednesday a!id Thnriiday Evenings, after the 

Oratorios, will be u Bill I, at Mrs. Sawyer's in the Square 

**The prindpal Voojtl Pstrt^ will Iw performed by Mriul 
PiNTo, Mr. Nuunis, Mr. MAntiEWH, Mr. Prick, k<yA 
Inatmmental by Mesai^a. Pi>'TO, Millau, Aik'<h'K,| 
Jknkinh, Parke, Latks, Honiw, Clakjc, Chew^ &c., Itc 

*'The Oratorios will be oondncted by Mr. Cai*sl Buki1|J 
of Coventry. 

*'The Music at the ChuR^h on Tliursday Morning is tai| 
be opened with a Trumtet Cokceiito by Mr. Bond,' 

The historian of the Festivals infoi-ms us thai J 
Mr. Pinto, the prinei|>al instrumentalist in the 
above concerts, was a famous violinist, and ^*'a§ 
for several years leader of the hand at Brury ^ 
Lane Theatre ; his wife, who was the prinei[Mi 
vocalist, was wel]-lfnown under her maiden namo] 
(Drcnt) as a singer, and a favourite pupil of Dr. 
Ame, who wrote expressly for her the part of 
Mandanc, in **Artaxerxes." ^fr, Norris was a 
Bachelor of Music, settled at Oxfonl, and well- 
known both there and in the metropolis. 

The performances were atteadod with consider- 
able success, being attended by ** brilliant and 
crowded audiences," and on Thursday morning i 
the Countesses of Dartmouth and Aylesft>rd| 
"very obligingly atocwl to receive at the Church! 

The gross receipts at these entortMnmentdl 
amounted to £800, of wliich the committee were] 
enabled to pay over £299 7s, id, to the funds of* 
the hospital ** It is gratifying to observe," saya j 
Mr, Bimce, " that from the first the Festivals havoi 
been marked by the selection of music of thai 
highest class. Notwithstanding that even at thej 
remote period of which we are writing Birming^j 
ham was decidedly a musical town, it still must 
have been a bold experiment to have offered to 1 
the public a series of performance! including the! 
* Messiah' and other works then scarcely appreciatodj 

even by i»ereons of cultivated taste, and certiiinly 
distasteful to many, if not to most, of the amateurs 
If bo had acquired a relish for inferior and frivolous 
musLc^ against Hie popularity of which Handel 
found it 80 difficult to contend." 

Xot with standing the success of these ent^rtain- 
mentfi, the interest in the progress of the Taluable 
institaiioQ for whose benefit they were undertaken, 
still flagged, and that to so great a degree that in 
^[ay, 1769, it was necessary, in annonncing a 
meeting, to intimate that dinner would be pro- 
vided, in order to ensure a sufficient attendance. 
The funds had fallen to such an extent that the 
boildin^ could not be completed; and it was, 
tUerefore, rt^olved that the remaining (unuseil) 
building materials should be sold and the im- 
(Inisbed structure insured, all further eflbrts being 
deferred until more hopeful tiraea. From this 
periixl until 1776 there is but one reference to 
the existciice of the institution — a notice in the 
Gazette of Jlay 8, 1769, (the month which saw the 
temporary abandonment of the hospital) threaten- 
ing to punish certain ** disorderly persons" who had 
**done considemble damage" to the neglected 
building, by ** frequenting there to play ball, tS:c," 

The listlessness with which the inhabitants saw 
this noble institution — to which doubtless many 
a poor »ufferer bad looked hopefully, but in vain, 
— lying in an imJiniahe*! state, and probably fall- 
ifig somewhat inf^ decay, contrasted with the 
eii^ifmuss with which they took up the scheme of 
re-building the theatre, immediately after its 
destruction by fire, in 1774, roused the indigna- 
tion of a young clerk in a meix:antile houso in the 
town, who was also a member of tlie Baptist 
Church in Cannon Street, namt^d Maik Wilks, — 
afterwards a famous minister of Lady Hunting- 
doD*s Chapel at 13"orwich. Determined to arrest 
the attention of the public to the disgraceful con- 
trnsty he published the following poetical dialogue: 
SHn^ a Dialogiie btiuxm th^ JIufjHtal and Xar 
Fhtjh^usi, at Birmimjhum, 

At elow of diy, within a nuid borer, 

I Mi me down* to muse away m hour ; 

But nightly silence, so profoundly deep, 

Soon luird me into calm and quiet sleep ; 

Ami aa 1 slept, 1 thought 1 heard ft noiae, 

Then looked around, and to my great surprise, 

I saw the Hospital and Playhouse near, 

Both in profound discourse, which you shall hear : 


Hail, Playhouse, hail ! thee 1 congratulate, 
Whilst I bemoan mine own buwildered atato ; 
Near seven years were niy fotindations laid, 
Ere thine were dug, or onglit about thee said, 
Yet Tve been long abandon'd human thought, 
Whilst thou, iij ha^U', are to perfection brought- 


Cease, Hospital, why ahould'st thou thus repine t 

Though thou art neglected, *tis no fault of mine ; 

Thy use is hospitality, 1 know, 

Or thou'dat been finijihcd many ye-ars ago : 

My use thou know*st is diircrent from thine : 

In me the rich and opulent shall shine ; 

But halt, and kme, aud blind must be thy gu«st, 

And such oa are by aickneas sore oppreas'd. 

*Ti3 true mhie is au hoipitahlo door» 
And should stand open to receive the ixior : 
The rich from me can no advantage gain, 
Which causes me in sackcloth to remain, 


Well, sto]> awhile, VW. now demand of thee, 
Hhow me the ninn who e'er got ought bj me ; 
No good or iirofit can in me be founi], 
My entertainments with expense abound. 


Oh, epicureans value not exiwnse, 
When buying trifles to amuse lli^ir sense ; 
But though 1 loudly their aHsliitance crave, 
Yet I J aJas ! con no sbsaistance hare. 


It must bo wrong, 1 do in conscience own, 
That such nnkimlness should to thee be shown, 
That thou by Chris tianti thus should slighted be, 
Whilst I'm caressed, and crown 'd with dignity. 


Oh, Theatre, it is indeed a shame. 
That they should e'er be honoured with the name ; 
Could Chriatiaui in a Playhouse take such pride, 
MiTiilat I in dormancy so long abide T 


Yes, Chrisdaua can ; pray do not go so far ; 
T hope you do not think they heath t?n are. 



[Tlie Oeoerfcl HoipttoL 


Indeed, they are no better in my view, 
Or else they never could delight in yoii. 


All, that is certainly a grand mistalce ; 

The hest of Cliristiaiis slioiild their pleasure take. 


And sa they do, hat thou hnst none to gi?e ; 
Their pleasure is the netdy to reliove. 

If that's the ease, then Christians are hut few. 


Indeed, Theatre, that I think is true, 
Sure J this gloomy aspect shoold not wear, 
ir all were Christians who the name now bear. 


Well, be it 80 ; I will no more preteud 

To take their fmrt — let this contention end; 

Each plQMB mind our gentry justly bhime. 

So I awoke, and lo, it was a dream." 

But tliia dialogue did not succeed at ouce in 
arousing tho public to fimsb the hospital. It wae 
not until the close of 1776 that any further steps 
were taken to obtain pi^cuniary assistance to 
cnalde the comniitteo to complete the work On 
the 16th of August in that year a meeting was 
held, and a report on the eontlition of the build- 
ing and of the funds was laid lief ore them. It 
was ultimately deciiJed to call a public me<?tingof 
the inhabitants of the town and neighbourhood, 
and the following notice was issued :■ — 

** Many Gentlemen of fhis Town and N^-ighbourhood, 
having taken into Consideration the impro|K!r State in 
which tbti Building of the lTt>neml IlospiUl at present 
stands, and being veiy desirous to se^ it answer tho laud- 
ablo Intention for which it wiis began, do hereby Request 
a General Meeting of the Nobilitj and Gentry, aa well as 
of the Inh>d>itant^ of the Town, at the Hotel, in Birming- 
ham, on Friday the 20th of thiii instant at Ten o'clock in 
the Forenoon, to concert the moat eHectiuil ileasuroa to 
Proseeate the Undertaking, and speedily to render thli 
charitable Design useful to the Public.'* 

Tlie meeting was hold, as aunouneed, on the 
20th of September, at the ** Birmingham Hotel'* — 
afterwards called the " Royal," which was then a 
new institution, having been erected by subscrip- 

iion in the year 1772, in Temple V.ow^ — and in 
the next week's issue of the Gtizeite an announce- 
ment was published, stating : 

£ I. 4] 

" That the Money expended on the Building, 

contingent Expences, &c., (iDcluding the 

purchase of Land, £942, and interest paid 

tbitreon to Christmas last, £359 3a. 8d.), 

amounted to ,, .^ ...6,85313 1 

**That the Money already received for 
Benefactions, SubscriptionBt &c., amounted 
to ..,.3,970 10 i' 

* ' So that a Debt has been iocn rrpd of £2, 888 2 

** This does not include any Charge for loteresti ftxce| 
that for the Land as above, and one Year's Intcfeat 
£200. Messrs, Taylor, Lloyd, and Co.. who are Ih 
principal Creditors, will be content with 8 per Cent 
Ann. for what they paid in advance. 

"The Building is well executed on a large extensiv 
Plan, and capable of rei-eiving upwards of 100 PatieatJ* 
tlie most commodioufi Miinncr. — The Eittioifttea of 
different Buildors were laid before the Meeting, by whid 
it appeared that it would coat between £1,000 and £1,10 
to compleat the Building, fxclusivo of the FuniitureJ 

The sum of X740 was aubaenbed at the meet- 
ing, and a canvass of the prineipal residents 
the town and neighbourhood decided upon; bti 
this resolution was not put into pmcticc unt 
Fehnmry, 1777, As a result of Ihii appeals 
number of the frienda of the institution incn 
their auhecriptions. 

Tho prospecta of th^ hospital began now 
revive, and the building pixigros'^ed fii 1 

and in June, 1778, another Music ul P< 1 1 
was resolved upon, to take |*laco in the follow 
September. Tliis was the first of the triennij 
festivals, which have been reguhirly htOd, (witl 
two exceptions,) up to the present time ; bnt 
we purpose devoting several chapters to tlf 
hist^Diy of this institution, it wijl not bo nee 
to make further reference here to the Festival 
1778 except to state that it produced naat^ 
£800, of which £170 went to the funds u! th 
Elospita), the pr«>fits being shared betweeji thi 
institution and the fund for the erection of 
Paul'3 Chapel, of wliicU wo shall have to speak il 
a future chapter. 

By the end of July, 1779, tho arran^^menb 
were completed for the reception of patieuia, i 

I BoaiilUL ] 



on the 4th of Aiiguat a meetbig was held, at which 
Lard Craven was appointed president, and the 
^VeaLbers al the County (Sir Charles Holt, Bait, 
and Sir T, O. SVipwith^ Bart.,) vice-presidenta. 
It wofi rej^orted that the phj8iciaua of the town 

Heorge Kennedy, John Freer, jim*, and Jeremiah 

The Hospital was formally opened on the ^Oth 
of the same month,— ^ncarly fourteen years after 
the first nieetinfj which had been held on its 




81% MAUYS tTll'RCH* 

ofTered tlieir services as medical officers 
gratuitously, and surgeons who were desirous of 
eonnection with the institution were rcqiicj^ted to 
nend in applications. On the 13th of tSeptemher 
the Djedical staff of the institution was elected, 
thcj first phyj^icians being Dr. Asli, Dr. Smith, 
Dr. Withi^rin^, and Dr I!dward Johnslone ; 
an dib« fot surgeons Mea^B. Kobert Ward, 

behalf, lliero were at the ojtening of the institu- 
tution only forty bods,^efis than half the number 
originally proposed Puriug tlie first week ten in- 
patients were admitted, and four nurses were ap- 
pointed, at fotir guineas per annum^ with a promise 
of fin additional guinea " if they behave well ;*' a 
barl>er was also a]>pointod to shave the patients 
twice n week, al a siiiary of 10a. 6d. per c^uart^. 



rWillifttn Hut ton in BSnoinghtm. 

Haviug now reached tlie period at whicli the 
hospital was opened, — fiom which we shall be 
ohliged to retrace our steps in the ensuing 
chapters,— we may leave the history of this 

noble institution for the present, until ,,_ 
have brought theother portions our Btory down 
to the date at which we close the pr 


Ili» nveow} vliiH to the town—Settlea ^ a >Hio1ui«ller Iii Btilt Strei't- ai*movejf to Higti Slrtiat^Hiii ootirUlilp nud tn«rriAge— S}>nMiUtJa 
— Tlie Transit vt Vemis — Loenl lionotirs— The Court of Requests, etc. 

In the February of 1750, William Button paid 
hiB second visit to Birminghum, — ihiii time with 
a view to a pennanent settlement in the town. 
Since his memorable week's journey in 1741» he 
had seen many clianges. In 174G his uncle hatl 
died, and the young journeyman, finding the 
stocking tmde distasteful, had turned his atten- 
tion to bookbinding. He had attempted to 
establLdi a connection as a bookseUirr and book- 
hinder at Southwell, in Nottinghamshire, which 
he characterises as being **as despicaWe as the 
road to it." At the date above mentioned^ he 
turned his thoughts toward the town which had 
so favourably impressed him ten years before, anrl 
journeyed here ** to pass a judgment on the pro- 
bability of future success." Here be found 
** three eminent booksellers for monLil improve- 
ment, Aris, WarreUj and WoolJjiston/* Con- 
sidering, however, tiiat " the town was large, and 
crowded with inhabitants," and that he might, 
perhaps, *' mingle in that crowd unnoticed by the 
three great men "—for, be quaintly adds, "an ant 
is not worth destroying," — he determined to try 
his fortimc its a bookseller here. On the lOtb of 
April, ill the same year, therefore, he entered Bir- 
mingham for the third time, and, after traversing 
the town a whole day in order to lind a suitable 
shop, agreed with a Miss Dix for the lesser half 
of hers, at No. 6. Bull Street, for one shilling a 
week. It will interest those who are in the habit 
of noticing coincidences, to know that the same 

year which saw William Mutton's iirst seriou 
attempt as a bookseller, (for the Southwell venty 
was scarcely worth mentioning), was thai 
which Baskerville made his first attempt at printi 
ing. He entered upon his new establishment < 
the 2oth of May, and, for the first year— a ye 
of hartlsbip and of the most rigid frugality— 
lived ahnost alone, without making a single 
quaintanca Ho **had entered a new world, 
which he lived a melancholy life ; a Ufe of silena 
and tears." In 1751 be found two friends iri 
Mr. Dowler, a surgeon, who lived opposite to him 
in Bull Street, and Mr. Grace, a hosier, (up 
whom, as the reader will doubtless remember, 
called, when seeking employment in 1741)» wlii 
occupied one of the hotiaes which blocked up tli 
High Street end of New Street* "Great cons 
qiience^," he observes, "often arise from litt 
tilings. The house adjoining that of Jklr. Graee'd 
in the High Sti-eet, was to be let. Botli [Mr. Gracse 
and Mr. Dowler] urged me to take iU I wn 
frightened at eight pounds rent. However, hot 
persuaded; one drew and the other pushed 
they placed me there," Here he pursued hii" 
business ** in a more elevated style, and with ] 

He soon had "a smiling trade," and in addilio 
to ^dlhuj and Unding books, he also comniene 
lending them j and so may be said to have eatatj 
lishe<l the first circulating library in the io^ 
In his amusing autobiogt^aphy, he relates 

WiUi»mnnttnwiiiBinmngb*m,] OLD AND NEW BIRMINGHAM. 


WivemI fixiXTieTices when in Beairh of n wife 
at this i^jricxL He liml been very much troubled 
in the management of his household affairs. One 
houfiekeiiper, in his absence^ sold liis hooks for what 
they would bring, left the shop, and got drunk 
with the rooney. Another came well recommended 
by a Nonconformist Minister, who assured him 
that she would not cheat him as she fe^ired the 
Loni " He might be right/' atlds Hutton, ** but 
che cheate^i my dumiilings one Sunday by setting 
them t»i b<»il without water. When we returned 
from Meeting they were burned to a cimJor." It 
waa ilieErefore ne^easaxy that he should fuid a 
housekeeper who shotdd also be a ** partner for 
life." His sister had visited him in 1751, bring- 
ing with her an intended wife. The latter, he 
tells us^ was ** tolerably handsome, and appeared 
able," But love, as he qunintly remarks, 
a delicate? and shy birtl, not always caught 
j at fet sight ; besides, evej-y thing formal operates 
j against it." The pre-arran-^'ed match fell through ; 
*we behaved,*' he says, **\Tith civility, but neither 
I ol us taking fire, the matter died away." 

In his new occupation of librarian he en- 

toantercd many of the gentler sex, and some of 

them he found ** so obliging as to show an incli- 

liuition to share with Mm the troubles of the 

Id ;" but the inclination would appear to have 

all on one side, and he still remained alone. 

[la the November of 1753, however, he met for 

i time the lady who was destined to become 

V — a niece of Mr. Grace, Misa Sarah Cock^ 

I it ia spelt in the register of the marriage, 

Crw), of Aston-on-Trent, near Derby, whom that 

gentleman had taken as his hotisekeoper. Hutton 

dined with Mr* Grace, as he had at that time no 

liooiiekeeper ; and so the aci]ualntan€6 with Miss 

pened into affection. On the 23rd of 

1755, they were married at St Philip's 

' Clmitli, in the presence of Mr. Graee and Mr. 

WOliam Eylandj who had become one of Hutton's 

finoeet friends. Many yeais afterwards, when 

I Uie parinendiip had been dissolved by death, he 

I mote cuDi.*eixi]ng his wife aa follows : ^' I found 

in her mure than ever 1 expected id woman, 
tlust in proportion as 1 loved her, I must lament 
her loss. If mj father, with whom I lived only 
fourteen years, who loved me less and has been 
gone forty, never is one day out of my thoughts, 
what must be those thoughts towards her who 
loved me as herself, and mth whom I re^sided 
an age 1 " 

The next year (1756) saw the birth of his 
daughter Catherine, who became the constant, 
aiV^'ctiouate, and soli«jitous companion of her 
father to the day of his death, and remained un- 
married during a life of upwards of ninety years' 

During the same year he was induced by his 
intimate friend, Robert Bage, to embark in the 
stationery enterprise, purchasing of him two hun- 
dred pounrls* worth of paper, and bung out a sign, 
The Paj/er Wurehomey the first in Birmingham. 
This department of his business he subsequently 
developed by manufacturing the paper himself, 
erectiug a mill for that purpose on Handsworth 
Heath ; but this speculation proved disastrous, as 
he knew but little of the process of paper-making, 
and was consequently obliged to trust almost 
entirely to his men. 

Ill 1761 he writes, "I still pursued the mill 
scheme, till lost in a labyrinth. The workmen 
saw my i^iomnce, and bit me at pleasure. * Let 
us fleece Hutton ; he hiva money.' I discharged 
them all, let the work stand, and left myself at 
rest.** But the millwrights would not suffer him 
to rest while the property lasted. One of them 
endeavoured to persuade him ** at what a small 
expense it might be converted into a com mill, 
and what amazing profit would attend it;" and 
into this trap he fell an easy prey. But in the 
next year he makes an entry in his autobiography : 
" I found, as a miller, I was cheated on all sides, 
which induced me again to discharge the people, 
and suffer the mill again to stand, with a deter- 
mination never to move it again. I also sold my 
horse for four guineas, resolving to keep no more*" 
He ultimately sold the mill for eighty guineas, to 



[Willljuu Hutioo tn BlnuinKhsnu ' 

n Mr. Honeyborn, to be used sn polisliiiig biasa 
nails; and, on examining his accounts, and taking 
into consideration the hindrance to hijs ordinary 
business, resulting from his paiier-making and 
corn-grinding oxperinients, he c^tiinat^d that he 
had lost, in these two schemes, nearly a thousund 

In the year 1761 ho makes an entry concenung 
the transit of Venus, which occurred in that year, 
which will inttsrest our readers at the preaent 
time : — 

"I saw the iTansit of Venn* over tho sun's iil«k. She 
Rpp<>ftred a BmiUI Klnck spot moving over the fa^'e of the 
Sim, tlie size of a Inrge fly or )^e. I think it was the liftli 
of Jane." 

In ITGiJ he again refers to the prosperous stato 
of his business, and the absence of rivals in the 
trade; remarking, llmt ho began to doubt whothor 
thf. mill hftil been any loss, for, he adds, the dis- 
appointment had raised that coiutnercial spirit, 
which would not have been raised without it 

" When life glides amootldy along/* he writes, 
in 1765, ** incident ia not to be expected* The 
man who sleeps in peace, baa no tale to toll/* 
This was the case with hmiself for many years 
after the abuve date, and his histoiy is simply that 
of increased prosperity, occasional journeys into 
Derbysbire and Nottinghamshire, and municipal 
— or rather parochial — honours at home. His 
liirmingham life» in fact, became principally 
devoted to the service of his fellow townsmen. 
His first step towards public life was that of being 
Buromoncd upon the Low Bailitfs Jury, in 1765 j 
in 1768 he wjis t:hosen Overseer of the Poor, and 
** thotight himself elevated beyond his ancestors ; 
fur none, within the reach of tradition, had 
efpialled it" He mivdp ndda : ** Perhaps I was 
the first overseer in Birmingham that ever rejoiced 
at the ofhce. When, in the evening, I met my 
five new bretlircn at the CastJe, they were all 
affectod ; some provoked, and some cast down, 
while I kept \ip the joke, and brought them to a 
smile. Some of them afterwards acknowk*dged 
I did them a service," Hia opposition, in this 
capacity, to the Lamp Act — ^the ^* improvement 

scheme** of 1768 — will be referred to more pa 
ticularly in our next chapter* 

The next year he purcltasod half an acre of land 
at Bennett^a Hill, Sidtley, naar Wnshwood Heatb 
and built a house for himself, whcro he 
until his deatk 

In 1772 he was chosen a Commissioner of tls 
Court of Keijuests, which was instituted by A 
of Parliament, in the year 17t*)2» for the mo 
easy and speedy recovery of debt«, under iOs., 
within the town of Pinningliam and the liamlelj 
of Deri tend. The court was originally held iq 
the chamlior over the Old Cross, — an tbts staps t 
which Hutton sat to n-^t, a sdont, depr 
object, dusty and tmvobstained, without mono 
and without friends, on that memorable fourteenti 
of July, 1741, on which he made Ids first apfK>a 
ance in the town of wliieh ho was dostiue*! 
become so distinguished a citizen. 

The court was subsequently removed to a houel 
iu a reeess at the back of High Street, nmA^ 
opposite New Street, which had been knnn 
formerly aa Mati^lVs Tm Warehouse, and is 
the i^reiient time, we believe, called "^« 
CQurt Tta Warehomcy 

The cases which Hutton decided as Coa 
sioner of this court formed the basis of one of 
most remarkable of all his works, wdiicli bears i 
its title the name of the court The humour an 
shrewd common sense which characteriaes all his 
writings is, perhaps, better exemplifieil in man 
of these decisions^ than in any other of his na 
merous volumes, As tho subject is one of lo 
interest, we cannot refrain from quoting a feU 

Tlie following is a graphic descriptiofi of 

beadle of the Court as he existed in HuttonH 

time : — 

*' When I first 3&t in thb Coort thederksimd tho I 
were under a private contnujt ; the b«iuile was diargciihlo 
with every exr>cns«, wna to pay the e:lerkfl an annual stipeutl, 
and ttpproprinte the residue of the profits to himself. 
This gvniiLS of tho Court wu William Bridgvna Bartoiii 
nominutcHl Gentleman in all decda of loas« and relMio^ 
who, though posues&cd of about ten thousand poondfl^ 
was aaldom master of a shilling, but frt<iueutly iKirro^red 

portion, Alwap WArded olTthe blow. Thougli ht daily 
gjis credit, he keiit no private hooks of account 

JiiA iiotnsd? Wflu his roemorj, which woa rery re- 

>liv*^, Lat when he died it waa locked up, with its 
tM, for ever. He wa» landlord to a farm near 
tvpotj j"rjini wilbont over rcccivinfif a shilling rent, 
Al«nip in a hnny without making progress, he despatched 
tHKtliing quick, but tho tankitrd. Expedition never dis- 
enrcTT'l lUrM h):i in trotting drunk, in which he becjinie 
•o i e thiit he could accomplish it in 

tec own him drive a yiodt-ehaiic to 

WMWukiot iliHior as he could turn into Ui» 

THmL It Wki ut to him whether he slept in « 

btd, vpon tin* bcarth of in nlehousc. or under a mangnr, 

** The money bdonging to the suitors must of course 
pass through the htmda of this |^od-naturcd sloven, or 
mtlier jmss into them^ for it seldom came out. The 
result was the Court dwindled, the suitors complftined, the 
Benrli remonstrated, he pmrniscd, the evil grow, imd the 
clerks were obliged to take their department into their 
own hand.i, since which time it has been conducted with 

'*All sides were pleased and tlie current of property 
wma now to run in its right channel. Still by the Uwi of 
his office the money arising from exccntions most {submit 
to the touch of lu3 fingers, and we were again obstructed. 
* Of whit u»e is the Conrt,* says the suitor, * if w« cannot 
hive justice. We had better loae our money by th« 



rni« Ooart of B«quMt«. 

debtors thuii be defr&uded at anotber expeoac bj tbe 

**Tb!s Commiaaioners entertained serious tbougbts of 
dwell tirgin^ him ; and porhapa three months would have 
finiftbed their pvirpoa*?, if in tbe interim the strength luid 
qnnntity of his liquor hftd not sent him into another 
world. There he could not conduct matters much worec 
thoB he bad done in this. " 

A very just decision is recortled with respect to 

tlie propriety of each individual bearing hia share 

of tho expense of any public improvement from 

which he derives benefit ; which the author 

quaintly entitles 


** Ih/enddiit. — I have never pnid anything, neither 
hflTe I a right to pay* 1 gave no orders to ha?e it done. 
I never promised i>aymeut, neither baa auy man a right 
to lay ont my roont'y. 

*' Cmnmiwicmn'. — Should you think it fair if all tbe 
neighbours went free atid the whole expeuiio was saddled 
upon yon ? ' 

* ' ComtniMioner. ^Theii what reason is there that you 
should go free and your neighbours bear the whole f Hiid 
they been all of your mind, they would have been de- 
prived of one of the greatest ble^ings wo know, or rntlier, 
like you, would wish to enjoy it at the eipcnse of another. 
If you have never paid to former rejiairs, they have 
granted you a favour you do not deserve. Aa they bavo 
all an equal right to the pump, they have all an equal 
right to pay, H you gave no orders it was not becAUse 
orders were uot ucfessary or tbe water not wanted, but 
that another, more spirited tlmn yourself, might step 
fonvard and funii-nh you with a pretext. If you had 
proniiaed pnynictit you would hnve stood in a more hon* 
cturable light. He biys out his money himself who pays 
for a nccesfiary article whifh cannot be bad without ; but 
if you take that article at the expense of your neighbour, 
you do bira an injustice, so shall we if we do not order 

In another decision he enforces tbe oft-forgotten 
rule that the finding of lost property does not 
give the tinder the right to keep it 


** A woman lost her needle-book , contjiining 5s. 6d., all 
she had in the world, in consequence of which her cJiil- 
dren were aturving for bread. The man who had found it 
refused to return it, and boldly supported his claim to the 
property. He had fairly found it, and everj'thing a man 
finds is his own. 

*' CourL — And so you apprehend the street gives a title 
to whatever lies upon it. You forget that property can- 
not change its owner without an act of that owner. Yon 
can inherit no title but from her, and she has given you 
none. If you accidentally find a person's title-deeds, will 
it give you a right to the estate I Should a man take up 

yotir watch, should you think be bad a right to keep it f 
or rather would not you hold forth in a different atyU, 
and proelaim that power of right which obliged hjm to 
restore it ? It may be generous to reward the finder, but 
be can demand notbiog; neither has tbe person who 
wishes to conceal, or rd'uses to return what he finda, a 
right to expect a gratuity. We are sorry that half this is 
your case, A gentleman some ye&ra back was travelliog 
in Nottinghamshire with a servant who carried a portman- 
teau in which was £2,000 to pay for an estate. By some 
accident it slipped uuperceived off the borse. When the 
loss was discovered the servant posted back. An old 
woman, with the portmanteau on her bead, whom they 
hatl lately passed, exclaimed, *' 1 know what you are gal- 
loping after ; here is tbe treasure you lost ; take it and 
welcome,** She was afterwards introduced to the master, 
who gave her hve guineas. Both parties were pletised, 
and whenever bis a [fairs led him to Nottingham, he sent 
for the old woman, and always gave her n kiss and a 
guinea ; each had a different relish, but iiotb were very 
acceptable. We shall allow ^ou what you do not deserve — 
one shilling; make an order against you for the rest, ttnd 
leave you to reflect how you stand with the world and bow 
you might have stootl. Had you sought out the loser, 
freely returned the property without a fee, for she wanted 
and you did not, you would have stood o|>on bonouiiahle 
ground. Yuu may farther reflect that your honesty wiU 
never bo called in question, for of this you have publicly 
made ship\»Teck ; your capacity may, for as every loser ol 
a canae pays the fees, you have for twelve paltry pftuco 
bartered away seventeen and a character." 

^lany others might be quoted from among the 
numerous cases recorded in this most intereflting 
volume, showing how mother-wit, joined to sound 
conimon-senst?, enabled Huttoii to adjudicato 
wisely, even in the most involved and difficult 
caaes, and gave to Birmingham one of tbe most 
equitable of judges, who has mado her Court 
of Requests famous throughout the co tin try, 
" Hutton,*' says his biographer, Llewellyn Jewilt, 
^'abhorred chicanery, and hold in ntttv detesta- 
tion aU attempts at cheating, extortion, lying, 
deceit, and oppression, and his judgments never 
failed to carry with them a sting to those who 
were guilty of any of these practices.*' 

The Lamp Act, which he had opposed so strenu- 
ously, was obtamed in 1769, and an amendment 
of tho Act for lighting and cleaning the streets, 
removing obstructions, etc., was passed in 1773; 
and in the latter year Hutton was chosen a Com- 
miaioner for the carrying out of the provisions of 
these Acts. How necossaiy tliese i^onns W9n 

TUt t4xv|i Act.] 





may bo gathered from his Hkiory of Birmingham, 
The builders of the houses on the various streets 
had each proctseded liceording to his own inter^t or 
Ikncy, without regard to the public convenience. 
^ There ia," says our worthy Commissioner, " no 
njAn to preserve ordcr» or proscril>e bounds ; hence 
Aiis^ evilfi without a cure : such as a narrownoas, 
wbieh scarcely admits light, cleanliness, pleasure, 
health, or use ; unnecessary hills, like that in Bull 
Street ; sudden falls, owing to the floor of one 
bouae being laid three feet lower than the next, as 
in Coleahill Street; one side of a street like the 
deck of a ship, gunnel >o, several feet higher than 
the atbeTi aa in Snow Ilill, New Street, Friday 
Street, Paradise Row, [afterwords called Paradise 
Sti©et»] Lionel Street, SufFolk Street^ Biick Kiln 
Lane, and Great Charles Street. Hence also that 
crowd of enormous hulk sashes ; steps, pro- 
jecting from the houses and the cellars; build- 
inga which, like men at a dog-fight, seem 
rudely to crowd before each other ; pent-houses, 
nulB^ palisades, vtc.» whit-h have long called for 

Preriouji to the passing of the Lamp Act^ in 
1 76^, the only persK>ns who had power to reform 
theae abuses wore the Lord of the Manor and the 
freeholders. These, so far from interfering, were 
ajnong the worat offenders, especially the fonner. 
** Othiira,"* says Huttun, " trespassed like little 
rcigae% but he like a lord. In 1 728, he seized a 
public building, called the Leather Hall, and con- 
Terted it to his private use. George Davis, the 
constable, summoned the inhabitants to viudicate 
tlieir right; but none appearing, the Lord smiled 
at their supincnesa, and kept the property. Li 
about 1745» he took possession of the Bull Ring, 
tlieir little market*place, and began to build it up; 

but although the people did not bring their action, 
they did not sleep as before, for they undid in the 
night what he did in the day. In 1758. when 
tlie houses at No. 3 were erected, in that extreme 
narrow part of Uull Street, near the Welch Crosa, 
the proprietor, emboldened by repeated neglects, 
chose to project half a yard beyond his bounds. 
But a private inhabitant, who was an attorney, a 
bully, and a freeholder, with his own hands, and 
a few hearty curses, demolished the building, and 
reduced the builder to order. But though the 
freeholders have power over all encroachments 
within memory, yet this is the only instance upon 
record of the exertion of that power." 

All these encroachments gave Hut ton, as one 
of the Commissioners, ** a fine opening to reduce 
things to order." His plan, he tells ua in his 
autobiography, was to execute the Act with firm- 
ness and mildness, obliging all ttj conform. But 
the conscientious determination of the one was 
over-nded by the voice of the many, " There 
were/* he says, ** clashing interests among the 
Commissioners. Some would retain their own 
encroachments, or serve their friends; then how 
could they vote down others 1 A rich man met 
with more favour than a poor one. The blame of 
some removals fell upon me, being strenuous, a 
speaker, and not backed by the Board, I lost 
some friends; as they did not act in a body, nor 
consistent, I declined attendance." 

The story of Hutton's life from this period to 
the riots of 1791 is somewliat imeveutful, and, as 
we shall have to refer particularly to his expe- 
riences in our narrative of that disgraceful episode 
in the history of our town, we will for the present 
take our leave of hkn. 

* HUtoqr of Blnntnghatn* atxUi diUtloo. p. 91. 



[Tht Uarf of Sohe. 



The Snow Hill MantifnctolT-^CIlilieUr of Mntthew BovUon— His removal to 8(iho— Joined by Mr. FotbUgBI Hny Ofl 
ttMun engine— JaniM Wktt'n traproveineitto— Hii diuftct«r— 8ohu in ITTi— The S<:tlio Mini— Bouhoij'* tfoini^^B— Eginton's ] 
i'opytng oll"iviintittg»— TIi« Copylti* Press, 

A HISTORY of local enterprise, from whicli the 
atory of tho famous Solio factory was omitted, 
would bear some reseniblance to the oft^juoted 
perform once of the tragedy of Hamht^ with the 
part of the niclanrholy Dane left out* That story, 
as Mr. Timmins well suys, " is not only one of the 
brightest chapters in the annals of our town, but 
is one of the greatest mcidente in the iiidusti-ml 
history of uur land." 

Matthew Boulton — who waa a native of Bir- 
mingham, having heen bom her© on the 3rd of 
September, 1728 — had, as already stated in our 
chapter on *'Bimiingham in 1760," previous 
to 1762, establishml hinifiolf on Snow HiU aa a 
manufacturer of " toys,*'— buckles, dasps, chains, 
and other tnnketSj — which exhiblt^'d good work- 
manship joined to artistic design, worked out by 
the best men he could procure. It baa been said 
of him thtit he '* would buy any man's brainsi," 
and in this lay his great secret of success. ** He 
did not expect perfection. He patiently trained 
them to their work if they were inexperienced 
before. He was a keen judge of character, a 
clear-headed, catholic-minded man — u very • chief- 
tain of labour,* who knew how to put every man 
in his proper place, and to make tho most of all 
His pleasant manners, his genial temper, his un- 
flinching justice, made him honoured, loved, and 
feared. While he was generous, ho was jimt ; 
and in the difficult art of managing men he hue 
never been surpassed. He exacted the best of 
everything^ — the best of material— the bebt of 
work— the best powars of men — and h« reap&d 
his rewani."* 

•8. Tlmmln*; Dlnittnghamand MMUnd HwUwiini Dlntrtr^ p. 818, 

In the beginning of the year 1 757, Handswor 
Heath was precisely what it was when WUliau 
Hutton first passed over it, in 1 74 1, a barren heath,! 
occupied only as a rabbit-warren, the only house 
being that of the warrener. But in that year, Joli 
Wyrley, Lord of the ilanor of Hondswor 
granted a lease for ninety-nine years, to Me 
Huston and Evans, with liberty to divert HockJa 
Brook and to form a pool for tho requiremcnta ( 
a water-mill for rolling metah In 17G2, tho le 
was purchased by Matthew Boulton, w*ho rcbu 
and enlarged the mill, and transplanted thither hi 
Snow Hill " phint.'* This was, however, very sooj 
found to be insufficient to enable him to carry on 
his great projects; and, in 1764, the foundation 
were laid of tho great factory which becamo tb 
scene of so many noble triumphs. The nci 
building was completed in 1765» and consisted i 
four squares, with connecting ranges of work 
shops, capable of accommodating a thoij 
workmen, the cost being about X9,000. 

He was now joined by a Mr. Fothergill— 4fae 
reader will remember the joint names of the firm 
in the first list of subscribers to the General 
Hospital — ^and the two men instituted a corres- 
pondence in all the cliief cities of Euitipe, seeking 
for talented workmen, in order to establish a 
school of artists for designing and modcllingi 
the result was that such a degree of perfection 
was attained, in the design and manniacturo 
metal ornaments, in imitation of ormolu^ — va 
candelabra, tripods, etc., as had not hitherto bce^ 
kno^vn in England* The manufacture of silve 
and phited wares was also introduced, and 1 
so important a branch of trade that it becau 




f, m 17^3, to estaUiah an Assay 0(Ece m 

Matthew Boulton's many projecta^ — all of which 
bad proved «ucc^sful^ — led him to seek for 
idditional power to carry them into execution, 
the wttter power being whoUy insufficient to meet 
the requirements of the manufactory, and in 1767 

five years. ** Great as the genius and invaluable 
aa the inventions of James Wiitt were/' remark* 
Mr. Timniins, ** they would have been wasted but 
for the indomitable energy, the untiring hopeful- 
ness, and the commercial genius of Matthew 
Boulton. Where the timid and iuvalid inventor 
would have failed, and have left his great dis- 




^PHHned a steam engine, on the plan of Savery. 

F Tliis was unaatiafactory, and the enquiries whiuh 
tta failure elicited, led to an scquaintanco with 
James Watt, then a mechanic iu Ghisgow, who 
bad already perfected certain valuable improve- 
mmU in the steam engine. Watt shortly aftor- 
WHida obtained a patent for these improvements, 
(Jan., 1769), and subsequently, in the same year, 
duae to Soho, where he erected one of his im* 
pfovcd engifies, and after demonstmting ita 
piaedicabiJity and utiJity, obtained, in 1775^ an 
nttomkra of the tfrxn of hia patent for twenty 



ij^-i^f' ;r^rr 


coveries to bo revived when he had long departed, 
Matthew Boulton gave exactly the element of 
commercial success. His refined taste, his un- 
liounded energy, his almost reckless profusion, 
had made Soho famous even for its minor manu- 
factures, but when the steam engine was added, 
ite success was complete. After endless troubles, 
wearying delays, disasters of all kinds, persever- 
ance had ita reward, and Boidton and Watt have 
a united and immortal name. While Watt was a 
quiet, patient^ plodding inventor, rotiiing in 
manners, and nervously anxious, Boulton waa a 



(Hit 8tor7 (tf 8«ibo. 

man of tlie world, ready in resource, sanguine in 
temperament, never diatieartened by the most 
threatening disasters, and never 'bating one jot of 
heart or hope/ " 

A contemporary account of the greiit Soho 
factory, from a very rare little Birmingham 
Diwactory, (Swinney's), published in 1774, a copy 
of which is in the possession of Mr. Tiramins, — 
as indeed what that relates to old Birmingham is 
not ? — may interest our readers : — 

**Thia place ia situated in the Parish of Handiworth, 
in tho County of StafFoixl, two Miles distant from Bir- 
miiigham. The building consists of four Sqaares, with 
Shops, WarehouHiJS, Ate, for a Thonsnnd Workmen, who, 
in a great variety of Bmnches, excel in thoir several 
Departments ; not only in the fabrication of Buttoni, 
Buckles, Boxes, Triukets, kc^ in Gold, Silver, and » 
variety of Compositions ; but in many other Arts, long 
prtttUiiniuant iu France, which loso their Beputation on a 
CoraiMiriison with the product ot this Place : And it is by 
the Natives hereof, or of the parts adjacent, (whose cmulo- 
tion and ta?jte the Proprietora have spared no Care or 
Expense to excite and improve), that it is brought to its 
preseut flourishing State. The number of ingenioua 
mechanical Contrivances they avail themselves of, by the 
means of Water Mills, much facilitates their Work^ and 
saves a gr^^al portion of Time and Labour The Plated- 
Work has an ftpiK-arancc of solid Silver, more especially 
when compaivd with that of any other Mauufactory^ 
Their e3tcelleut oinaincntttl Pieces, in Or-Moulu, have 
iM'ca admired by thi* Nobility an I Gentry, not only of this 
Kiugdom, but of all Europe ; and are allowed to surpass 
anything of the kind made abroad; And some Articles 
lately executed in Silver- Plato, show thiit Taste and 
Elogance of Design preiriiil here in a superior De>*ree, aud 
are, with MechauiHin and Chymystry, happily united. 
The environs of this Building wai Seven Yeara ago, a 
barren, uncultivated Hi^ath ; tho* it now coutaina many 
Houses, and wears the appearance of a populous Country : 
And notwithstanding the number of People in that Pariah 
is double what they were a few Years since, yet the Poor's 
Rates are diminished, which is a very striking inst^iuce of 
the good etfects of Industry," 

Among the many manufactures to which the 
steam engine was lound applicable was that of 
eoinin^, for which purpose a mill was erected, in 
1778, at which, by the aid of a few boys, eight 
machines were worked, each capable of striking 
from seventy to eigbty-fuur pieces a minute. The 
process of manufacture was thtia described by 
one of Boulton'd intimate friendsi Dr« Erasmus 

Darwin, author of the Botanic Garden^ and other 
poetry of a like mecbanical order : — 

** Kow his hard hands ou Mona'9 rifted crsst, 
BosomM in rocks, hor axnre robes arrest ; 
With iron lips his rapid roUere seize, 
The len^then'd bars in their expansive squeeze ; 
Descending screws with ponderous fly^wheols wound 
The tawny plates, the new medallions round; 
Hard dies of steel the cupreous circles cramp, 
And with quick fall his massy hammers stamp. 
The harp, the lily, and the hon join, 
Aad George and Britain guard the spleadid coin,** 

Boulton's mint machinery, as finally impPOV«d 
by himself, was so perfect that it baa been used, 
with very few alterations, up to the present time. 
His design was to produce a coin which should be 
**inimitiible," hut in this he did not succeed, as 
his splendid coinage was imitated by lead pennies, 
faced with capper, almost as soon as it appeared* 
What Boulton did, however, in that direction, 
served as a simple and useful test of the genuine- 
ness of the copper money of that period. He 
made his twopenny pieces of exactly 2oz. weight, 
and eight of them measured a foot ; the pennies 
weighed loz,, and seventeen measured two feet; 
the half-pennies weighed Joz., and ten measured a 
foot ; and of the farthings (Joz.) twelve measured 
a foot. Of the genuine pence, sixteen weighed a j 
pound, while the counterfeits were often eighty- 
four to the pound. Twenty tons of copper, 
making 716,800 peimies, were struck every week, 
lor many months* In addition to copper money, 
silver was also coined, for some of the colonies j 
and many fine and valuable medals were alsa. 
struck from time to time at the Soho mint. 

In 1779 an invention of a very dilFeioiit 
character from anything which had previously 
seen the light at Soho astonished the art world of 
that day. Francis £ginton,^-of whom we shall 
have more to say in a future chapter, — practised 
at this great home of the arts, an ingenious pro* 
oeas for copying oil-paintings — the productions I 
being very much like the modem *' oleographs*" 
It has been conjectured by some that in this pro- 
cess the art of photography was called into use, , 
but of this there is no evidence. ^VTiatever the 

Ilif^ iBd Brefftli. ITflO'lTTS.) 



exact " procesa ** was cannot now be ascertained, 
tlid production havinj^ been Sfitppressed, in the 
interests of art. Two large pictures, apparently 
bj Loutherbour^, hare been preserved in Bir- 
min^basSf which have been mistaken for original 
oil-paintings, but have proved, on examination, 
to hare been produced by mechanical means, — 
probably by the means invented by Francis 

But of the many other ingenious and artistic 
luctions of the great Soho factory, during the 

fwrr period of its exiatence, — ^nnd they included, 
among other, now common articles of daily, use the 

'* copying-press,'' which Boulton himself per- 
fected, to the terror of certain M.P.'s, who feared 
that it would produce forged banlc notes — we 
have not space at our command to tell ; and as 
the lat^^r history of this establishment, — begin- 
ning with the manufacture of steam-engines, 
would take us farther on into the history of our 
town than we have yet reached in the other parts 
of our narrative, we must postpone the remainder 
of the story until we have brought other portions 
of the history of Birraingham down to the same 
date, when we wifl once more take up the thread 
of *' the Story of Soho." 

PUBLIC LIFE i.ND EVENTS, 1760-1775. 

'Bl«3faietty* SemnU"— The King Street Tliefcbio— Palpit v, Btast^" An Totj Llkft It"— "Kinf John —Mrs. W*rd ind MuUr 
J£0IM4y^T3i« &bakc«p«aro Jubtlee 1750— T)i« Tbtatre Eojml y«w Street -Bradford'a PIul— *'Thc Canal Freniy "— Suzmel Jobnson 
IB Bt?m!ngli>iii aealQ->Dr. Ajth And Aflhted* 

It will be remembered that in the chapter on i 
the establishment of JnVs Birmirifjhnm Gazette^ 
took the opportunity to illustrate from the 
of that journal, (assisted by the volumes 
of I>r- Langford's ** Century of Birmingham 
Life**), the public life of our town during the 
fiisi decade of the Gazttte'8 existence. We now 
purpose taking up the thread of the narrative at 
the year 175Q, and to inflict upon our readers 
another misceUaneous chapter — not altogether fi-om 
the GasxtU^ however, this time^— as the events we 
have to record^ during the period indicated at the 
haad of this chapter, aii^ too numerous, and at 
Ui0 fl&me time of scarcely sufiicient importance, to 
occupy separate chapter§ of themselves* 

Wc take up fii^t tint history of the stage, At 
ike point at which we last took notice of it, the 
town bo<asted three temples dedicated to Thespis^ 
but only one of them of any importance, viz., 
that in Moor Street, erected in 1740, The New 
Sti^t and Smallbiook Street houses would appear 
td hAT« died out as quietly as they came into 

existence. In 1751, Hutton tella us, a company 
arrived who announced themselves "His Majesty's 
Servants, from the Theatres Eoyal, in London ; 
and hoped the public would excuse the ceremony 
of the drum, as beneath the dignity of a London 
company,** This novel announcement, he says, 
** had a surprising effect ; the performed had 
merit, the house was continually crowded, the 
general conversation tunied upon theatrical ex- 
hibition, and tho to^vn was converted into one 
vast theatre." 

The growth of the public appetite for the dmma 
k'd to the erection, in 1 752, of a second permanent 
theatre, in King Street, and two London com- 
panies deliglitcd the town* " The pulpits took 
the alarm/' says Hutton, " and in turn roared 
after their customers ; but the pious teachers 
forgot it was only the fervour of a day, which 
would cool of itself ; that the fiercer the fire hums, 
the sooner it will burn out This declaration of 
war fortunately happening at the latter end of the 
summer, the campetgn was over, and the company 



I PabUe Ufe aad BviaBti, 17«-irL i 

retired into winter quarters without Imstilitios." 

Whrn the anpotite fur tlie ilrania lia-l again 

declined it became evident that two theatres ccndd 

not find support in the town as yet, and the 

Moor Street house was very soon cl«;sed, and 

subsequently lut to the Methodists, as a mooting 


It may be interesting to the lovi-rs <•£ the drama 

to know something of the kind of plays selected 

for representatiun in the town, afer the establi.-h- 

ment of the more legitimate theatres. A poetical 

critique in the Gazette, July, 1761, gives the 

names of two well-known pieces : 

•* When Salop's Sons from Labour rest 
And riia'bns jounifys down the Wt-st, 
Theatric-Bills invite : 
' I gOf v:\\\\ Diany liiui'lri'ds more, 
And drop two-Shillings :it tiie Door, 
To see 'em every Night. 

I went to see the Jtahms Wife, 
And what coii'd more ri'si-mhle LitV*. 

Or tou«h the human Hu:irt * 
— CuTTFR with his C'omii'-Son^', 
Delighted tho attfutivr Thmng, 

And each one topp'd I lair Pari. 

Wliat need I thm eshil-it Names, 
Since purrsl Critii-s sounil Aoilaims ? 

And 8ny —'their Ilival Queens 
' Had those who ncted ln'U' hcfore 
Lt-eu present ji*— tlicvM I'lay no mun", 

* But sell their C'loaths and ScvnL>."' 

In 17G4, the local journal informed its ri-adns, 
on Jidy, 2ruh, that *' the Kngli:sh opera of Lor,' 
in a Vi'lht'j'' will certainly be i»erform\l at the 
Theatre in King Street on Friday next : And 
that the ^lasque of Cunufi, written by Miltcai, is 
now in Ilehearsal, and will be sj)eedily perfnrm'd 
at tho same Theatre, with new l)ri sses and 
Decorations." The same year Shakespi-areV "As 
You Like it " was presentetl at the King Street 
theatre, — the (»nly one then n'maining, as the 
ruflder will n/mend»er,~and tin- framcr i»f the 
announcement ventured uixai a bit tjf tlramatic 
criticism which will amuse our readers. After 
announcing the performance of the ctnnedy. In- 
particular desire, for the benefit of Miss AVanl, 
ho says : 
*' This Comedy, tho* one of the first Productiuns of that 

immoiial Oenias, has liren allowed by all the 
Wiit'-rs to he at least equal, if not excel, any o4 
IN-rformanrrs. The established Repatation it 
and still cnntinnes to hold, with all Judges of Ul 
and Frequenters of the Theatre, both for 
< 'haracter and Incident, True Humour, and Ui 
Morals, speaks louder in its Favour than all that 
s»uid in I*raisc of its Merit.'* 


■ 8hakes])earft held his own on the local i 
During the next year "King John" was i 
with the performance of which one i 
60 delighted that he rushed into print withi 
gushing piece of criticism, which, as local dzan 
criticism was at that time an uncommon 

j we quote entire : 


To the Printers of the Birmingham ffeaeUi, 
I hare in the course of this Snmmer, when the We 

] could i>rrmit, attt-nded the Play-Houae in this Town, 
have been sometimes pK*ased with the Per 
partiv-uhirlv with the Maid of the Mill, King John, 
and now I mention King John, I must take notice of 1 
very ex>-eUcnt Pcrformuncc of two characteri played 
Mrs. AVartl and Muster Kennedy; there waa not a 
eye in tlio House; Mrs. Ward's great Feeling 
mnstcrly manner of conveying her Grief, made 
Person pn-^cnt ft'id as mueli as if they were in tki^ 
Circumstances : and the Pleadings by Master Kennedy ti' 
IlnKrt, when* he is about to lose his eyes, astonished tk 
Audienre, tliat a Bny so yonn^ conld be so Natnrsl, sal 
yt't so fonible as to omit nothing that the oldest Aetot 
i>n the Sin;:e wouhl liuvi* made Use of to gain the ApplsBM 
of the Auliemc. I think 'tis Pity that Merit is not nun 
fncourajrtd ln-re. MastiT Kennedy, I am told, ph^ 
thL* diameter of Prince Arthur twiee before his Migell|i 
and that tlit- Duke of York, and the present PrineeM of 
Brunswick, took grrat Xntiee of him, and paid him tBKaj 
Comidiments when the Play was over. — I hopeheviQ 
moft witli Eneouragi^ment, as 1 hear he is to have Fkxt of 
a Benefit ; ami as he cannot be supposed to hafB 
Ai'iiu.iiiitsuu'e, being too young to Keep CompanT, til 
hoiH-d the Knoonmp;ers of Merit, particularly the Late 
will make a Point of bending for his Tickets^ and kt'tki 
Town Nee it is not always oiling to keeping a desl of 
(.'omimny, or an Overgrown Interest, that always makcit 
great Benefit. I am your Constant Reader, 


In September 17G0, David Ganick designed and 
curried out a Jubilee at Stratford-on-Avon in 
' hniiour of Sliakespeare, — and of David Ganick. 
It will not be necessary to describe in these 
pages tho doings at Stratford, the dinnen^ btlh 
pageants, fireworks, illuminationsi and other 

jl^ ; M^^fKWWV^^TlWCj 

4. A^r«v. fJivec-L^IAofrri 

1 li 


{T)i« Tltmlfv. 

festivities,* — in which, probaljly, many of the 
inhabiUnis of Birnungham took part, — hut it 
may interest good Shakespeareans whu remember 
the noble manner in which Biraiingham txmi- 
memomtc<l the tercentenary of the ihx4's bijlb, 
ill 1864,— by estabJishiui^ a Shakespeare Memorial 
Lilirary, — ta know tbat the Jabike of 17C9 was 
not allowcnl to pa^^s niirocogiiistrd in the town. 
An e«btion of the great dramatlnt^s writings had 
been printed l»y Kohcrt Martin, with l]askerv^ille'» 
ty|:>e.>?, at tlie snggestion of tJarnck, and was sold 
at 8tmtfortl during the Jubiloa A few days 
Ix'fore t!ie celehrtjtion the following advertise- 
ment appeareil in the iwuzette : 

Ha Moinliiy mxt [Aug. 80] «ill 1«* |mWi5h*»d, — A 
Mt'dal of the iJiimiUible 8hakt'i5iK'arc, stnick either in 
Sih^er or tYipjKr, tloiie fioru tbnt iiileudtjd to be worn by 
Mr. C!arrick, at the approuoliiug Jubilee, wbit'h is an 
impvovtal Likeness of that Gre»it Man. Ladies uiij 
lieiitleinon nmy have tliem either in LV-«is for tbe Pixket, 
iM- wilh Pendant** fur ihe Boaoui, at Mr. Westwood's, 
liiij^ruvifi', in NewbalUWalk ; or at the Toy-Shops, in 
Hirniin^bjini ; tbry may likewise be b«iil at Mr. Payton'n, 
Ht tbt' Wintf-Lioitr in Htnitlbhl, and the Toy -Shops lb ere. 

,*» Liilie^ and Gt^ntleuieii may Inive them atmck la 
Gold on t}ie ahoi te^il Notice. 

Oil the 25th of September the same journal 
annonnced a nuiHical performance, which was to 
take place un Thursday , (btoljer 5th, at the 
Theatre m Kin-^^ Street, connislhig of **all the 
Hungs, tfleea, Cutchen, and iJiumdelavH 1/tiely jwr- 
b^rmed at tlie 8tmtfurd Jubik'e,'* tlie vocal inti^ic 
being assigned to ** Mr. Parrions ami others," aud 
the instmniental parts contributed by *' the bt^st 
Performera of tbis town, and from t Gloucester, 
Worcester, and Lichficdd, kn'^ <jarricks famouij 
1 Jde was also ** humbly atU-nipted by a Gentleman 
of thid Tf>wn ; " ** a New Occasional Prologue " 

* Foot* aireiuftioaUy kXc^tWviA It, in hf» ** /Vrif om Two m^ik*C* 
A4 foJlowi t ** A jiiblk«, ^.1 \x hath Jtitely ipiMiAred* Is a \^^M\^* 
invitation^ cLirnliitcd und urgitl by jxiWrig, to go jmHt witlioul 
liunMN, liJ an obacare Iw^roiigh wlthuut rfjTe*tutntlv<?)i, gi)veniwj 
by R mayur and tldenuea who .nre no magistrate*, to t?t!i4.«bmt# 
a Greftt Poet, wlios*e own work« liave maflu hi in Imiitortal, by an 
odo without iioctr>', inUBic without luelocty. dlnntfw withuui 
victual*, ujjcj lotJ-lugii without beds ; a nia&qucntd*; whcjn half the 
pooj>l« npiKSurcd b-ire-frtced. a honcnice up to the kiiee^ tu water, 
nit" works «]itingni«iU*if1 as noon an they wcm Hgbt«d, and a glnffpr- 
hr«i4 iHinhllht'Ati^, which, llkt' a hoiwe of eard*. ti»nt>lcd to 

f»ic< (►* iif, a^jtin «* H Vnts fi«l*hiNi/' 

ia also ivnnounctHl, being, in all jirobabilit^ 
** humbly attempted " by the reciter of the Ode 

WhOe on tbc subject of music, wo quote foi^ 
our readers* araimement, a curious addendum 
an nnnouuccment in tlie local journal of 
exhibition of a collection of sculptures on viefl 
** at the Seven Stars, in the High-Street," to th4 
ellect tlmt * ' ti soU'i' h*mM Mnu^ that can biou 
a French Horn or I'mmpt't trdl^ may hear 
En ron nujcm en /. ' * The old abo w-m an who peane 
the al>ove must ha\*e been an ancestor of Artemu 
Ward ; we cannot help being reminded of 
Artemns's ** experienced moonist of good paren- 
tage," wliom he was so anxious to meet with. 

Tbe year 1774 was one of activity in matten 
theatrical in BirmingiiaiiL In that year the Kii 
Street theatre was enlarged and htmntified, and 
many improvements wiae eftected to minister i 
the comfort of visitors; so that, accoitiing 
Button, **it had few equds." In the sam^ 
year a new theatre was erected in New St 
probably on or near the sit^ of the miscrablj 
structiire which had done duty as a theatre son 
years previously, — referre<.l to in our last notio 
of the sbige. It was the proposed buildin-^ 
this new house which prompted Murk Wilks to 
write the ** Poetical I>ream/' ciuoted in Chtt]»ter 
XXI ; but the piiblication of that |>oem, while it. 
may have aroused public feeling in favour of con 
pletiug the Hospital, did nut j>r0vent the erection 
of tlie Theatre. The coal of the latter, which wj> 
on '*an extensive plan, aud richly ornament 
[witli] paintings and scenery,^' was £5,660. 
1780 a liandiiome portiito was added, (sxiid 
have been designed by Uarrtson, of Chester,) coi! 
sisting of a massive piazza, surmounted by a ligi^ 
and graceful balcony, suj>ported by two pairs < 
Ionic columns, with wings at either end, on tb 
front of which, in the U]*per compartments, an 
two medallion busts, of excellent workmanship 
representing respectively, Slmkespeure and Gn 
ricL This handsome addition to the buildiii 
caused our old historian to prr»nouiice it "one < 
the first thcsitiies in Europe." It was, dtiriag H 

ttU Pinn. ir:.i 1 


eacUer years, under the managcmeDt of Mr. Yatea, 
the cclebratod comedian. 

Before leaving for the present the histoiy of 
the local theatres, we may quote, for our readers' 
amusement^ Poet Frceth's vcmes on the conversion 
of the Moor Street Theatre into a meetiog house 
for the Weeleyans : 

On m PLAY-HOirSE Wnjc turned into a MKTHODIST 
I sitig Dot of battles, nor sing of the itAtc, 
But 4 fttr&nge metamori>hoaf9 that happen 'il of late, 
Whiicli if the C43iiie4taii>( of Lonilon Hhou]<l hear, 
Who kuowa — it may pnt the whole bo<ly in ftftir. 

Deiry Uowu, ^^c. 

W)icn« lUncing auJ lumbliiig have nmny tirnt'S be<'ii. 
And plnys of all kimU hy lurj^ir audiences hceij , 
Th»»Htt virickiMl diven*ioij8 nic not to be more, 
Poor Shakespeare iii bulftitted out of the door. 

The story la true, the tale it is strange, 

And people might wt?ll be nkmiM tit the chi^iigu ; 

Instead of a Drydc^n, a Johnson, or Lee, 

Von nothing but puroi»t de vol ton ran see. 

BehoM, where thtj »on» of good humour appear*df 
The Actfne* are thrown down, and a pnlpit 13 rear'd ; 
The boxes on e^ich side converted to pews, 
And the! pit all around nought but gravity shews. 

The muaic's sweet sound, which enlivened the mind, 

la tum'd into that of a diflVrtint kiad ; 

Ko eornic burletta or French rigadoon, 

But all join together, and chant a (jsalni lufiL*. 

When told that fara'd W — 1 — y* appear'd on tlie stage, 

The grave ones began to rellect on the age ; 

But thoae in the liecret appro v'd of tho eaiie, 

For *twa« done to drive 8a tan away from the ph*cc. 

If through the land this example should tak**, 
A ftmnge reformation it surely would make ; 
All writings tlj-atuatic would certainly cease, 
If Cci\ tisT and DnuiiY ahouid catch the diiieaae. 

Deny down, Jfccs 

ill Lhu year 1750, Samuel Bradford made a 
' mirrey of the town, with a view to the publica- 
tion of ft Btsw plan, none having appeared, so far 
ad we know» since that of Westley, in 1731. 

It would seem, from the following advertise- 

aeiit, wliich «pi>eare<l in the Gazette^ -\«i^'uat 6, 

1750, that ooni'idemble delay occurred in its 


"To t!i' .ut.s.TibvTA for the Pkns of Birmingham, &c» 
Tli' ' u greatly retarded by th<e illuesA 

jf L u, in engraving the plan of Bir- 

Uii W»«lv7 ; «M iiMir, 0. irf 

miughani and map of the rouiitj^ and by ibat means ia 
rendered incapable of publishing according tohia promise; 
he assures them that the work is now eontiuued in great 
forwojdness, and will be ready to deliver to ihe anl^scii' 
bera aomc time in Uctober , and that hub^iiptions are 
taken in oa u*5Ual by ^tr. Bradford ; A[r. Jeffcrys, in 
Digbeth ; Mr, Jackson^ printscdler, in Binningbani ; and 
by the booksellera of Birmingbam, Coventry, and towns 

Notwithstanding this promise, the year 1750 
ended without the plan having appeared, and 
nearly four months of the new year Lad elapsed 
t>efore the long-expected print was piiDlished, In 
the month of April, 1751, an advertisement 
appeared, however, in the Gozvfif\ announc^iug 
" that the Plan of Birminghaiu (if desired) is to 
be tlelivered to the Suhseribei^ ui xt Week." <hi 
the 29th of the same mtnilli tht* pliiu wtus is6ivn:'d ; 
being, aa stated on the imprint, ** Publisjhed 
according to the Act of rarliameut, by Thos. 
Jeffreyai, at the corner of 8t ilartins Lane, 
Charing Cix)8s, London^ April 29, 1751." Some 
years ago Mr. John Hahune threw out the auggcs- 
tion in the ** Local Xutea and Cjjueries " uf the 
Binnhnjluim Jourwil^ that the ** Thos. Jetlerys, 
of St Martin's Lojie, London/' the engraver and 
publisher of the plan, and tlie Mr. Jeill-rys, in 
Digbeth, " by wliom, as set forth in the ailvcr- 
tijsement quoted above, subscriptions for the plan 
were received, were one and the same person ; 
adding, that if thia fact could be proved, it would 
" add another name to the roll of Birmingham 
worthiea, who, whatever their hajuls found to do, 
did it well and thoroughly, and thus laid down 
an ever-speaking protest agaiiisit the *well eimugh* 
methods so much lU vogue in the present day/* 

As the plan ia rare, it will interest our reailera 
to see the descriptive letter-press whicli is engraved 
thereon, which is as follows ; 

•* IMrmingham ia a Maiket Town, situated in the North 
West part of the County of Wanvick. f*2".33 Nr>rth 
Ltititiide, distant from London 88 fouiputed & 116 
measured Alilca : the present number of Houiies arc 4170, 
and Jnhabitauts 236Sb. 

*'This Town has been wuppog'd to tlerive ita name from 
one Binning, who£>e dweUiug-homte formerly Hloi»d here, 
ye termination Ham in ye Saxon language tiiguiHm home 
or dwelling [djue. In ye U'igu of VA\\\[. ihr Confr*M4U' it 



tOfUfir'mr* Man. ITH. 

WM the Frceliold of one \luume, nnd in that of WUliatn 
tho Conqueror waa in possession of William Fits Auscnlf, 
who then resided at Dudley raHtl«?- Hen. III. by a 
Grant allow'd them to hold a Mmket every Thursday in 
ye Year. In ye 35th of Hen. III. a Charter was given for 
two Fiiirs to be kept annual ly, one to Ijegin on ye Eve of 
Holy Thursday, and the other on the Eve of St. John the 

*'K. Edwd, VI., in the 5th Year of hie reign, erected 
a Free Grammar School for Boys, wliich is little inferior 
to any School in England as to its Fievenues, 

St. Philip's Church was erected in the Kdgn of King 
Georg<s I., who gave X600 towards the finishing of it. St. 
Bartholomew's Chappel was lately built and consccmted 
in the Year 1750. Thia Town* Iho' very large and 
populous, has only two Churches and two Chappels, vije,, 
St. Martm's and St Philips Cluirche4. St. Bartholomews 
Chappel, which beluugs to .St, Mnrtin s Parish, itud St. 
John's Chappel in Dcritrnd, k'longing to the Parish «f 
Aston, but there are several Meeting Houses for Dissenter* 
of almost all denominations, a Charity School fur Boys 
and Girls and a largo hanilsome Workliouse, 

" This Place has been for a long series of years increas- 
ing in its buildings, and is superior to moat Towns in ye 
Kingdom for its tdegance and reguldrity, as well am 
Kumber and Wealth of the Inhabitants ; its prosjx'rity is 
owing greatly to ye Indvustry of ye People, who have for 
many Yeara carried on an extensive Trade in Iron and 
other Wurea, eapecially in the Toy I3usini!ss, which has 
gain'd the Pkcc a wamo and a great esteem all over 

There is also sin ** Alphaljcticid List of the 
Streets and Lanes, with the Numbers of Houses 
and Inhabitants in eauh," which is also worth 
quoting here : 



Aaton Street and 

Upper Gojjty 




Ikll Street .,..,. 


. 179 

Ik wdley Street,. 





, 405 

Buckle Row,,.,.. 


. 1» 

Bull Street 


. 819 

Bull Lane. 


. 80 

Button Alley ... 


. 18 

Butts Lane 



Cannon St. and 

Needless Alley 


. 568 

Carr's Lane 


, 207 

Castle Street ... 


. 162 

Chjipel Row,...., 


, 33 

Chapel Street „. 


. 205 

Charles Street ... 



Cherry Street and 

Crooked Lane. 


, 100 

Church Street ... 


ColeshUl Street.* 


, 100 

Colmore Row „. 


. 2C8 


colmore Street 68.. 
Coop«r*» Alill 

Lane .. 7.. 

Corbett's Alley .. 4,. 
ComCheaping,., 20.. 

Cross Street 1,. 

Dak End 18L. 

Deritend 108.. 

Digbeth ...,, ,308., 

Dock Alley 13.. 

Duddcaton Street — ., 
Dudley Stretit ,,.104 . 
Farmer Street ... 7.. 
Freeman Street,. 16.. 

Fmggxiry 25.. 

St. Bartholomew 

Street ,.,„,., — .. 
H an ds's Square.. 26.. 
Harlow Street ,„ — .. 
High Town .,,...247.. 
Hill Street .,.., 3., 
Hinkleys ........ 87, 















Houses lahsb. i 

Jen ning Street... 1.,. 5 

John Street ...... 60... 348 

King Street 86,.. 217 

Leek Street — ... — 

Lease Lane ...... 23... 148 

Lichfield Street. 104... 841 

Livery Street ... — ... — 

Lower Minories.. 11,.. 68 

Lower Priory „. 17.,. 00 

St Martin's Lane 11 .. 40 

MaaahonsG Lane. 16... 77 

Mill Lane..,,.. „ 16.,. 114 

Moor Street 105,. ,1,076 

Mout Lane 43... 252 

New Street 105... 649 

New Meeting St. 21.., 149 
Newport Street. , 1 . . , 

Newton Street... 54... 312 

Old Meeting St.. 34... 231 

Park Street 156,,. 044 

Peck I^ne 86„. is: 

Philip Stt^ct ... 38... 218 

Pinfold Street .„ 07... 632 
Pitt Street ..,.,. — .,. 
Porter Street »», — ,,, 

Queen's Alley ... 10... 45 
Shut Lane and 

Wdl Court .. 7.,. 55 

HooM. litlka^ 

Sand Street ,...,. 1.,. i 

Slaney Street ... 60... SOS 

Smallbrook St... 101... 706 

Snow HiU 84,.. 471 

Spicer Street ... 41... 249 

S^^uare 16... 129 

Stafford Street 

and Ditch 85,.. 408 

Steelhouse Lane. 122... 645 

Swinford Street. . 5 . . , 10 

Temple Alloy ... 3,.. 10 

Temple Row 17... 120 

Temple Street .. 53,. 316 

Thomas Street.,, 62„. 316 

Tonka Street ... 18... 67 

Ui'per Mhiorit»a., 4,.. 4 

UpiKT Priory ... 28,.. 166 

Walnior Lane ... 2.., 9 

W earn an Street,. 78... 486 

\Vt3stley Street... 68... 402 

Wooil Street 35.,, 204 

Worcester Street 66... 340 

Houses lnhahi> 

ted ...4,058.., 23,688 

Not Inhabited 112... — 

Total 4,170.. ,23.688 


It will he interesting^ with the assistance of tlie 
fac-eirailo, to compare this plan of tlic town m 
1750, with the survey made by Weatley, in 1731 
The reader will, of course, notice, in the 
pilaee, the gn-at difference in the area covered 
the town ; and in looking at the two pi 
side by side, it will be necessary lor him to con- 
sider tlio top of Westley's to be that of tho upprr 
cihje of the hjok^ («.e,, the hfl side of the engraving 
as originally issued,)^ — to look at the two plans, 
ill fact, in the same j>o«ition in relation to tbe 
letter-press, — m he will then see them as nearly 
as possible from the same jioiut of view as 
the position of the various streets. 

Beginning at the north- western comer o: 
map, wo notice that Snow HiU is now built u 
(on tho opposite side from the Now Hiill eatal 
beyond tho stream which riuis between that 
thoroughfare and the Great Pool; the hist house 
marked being the Salutation Inn, with ita 
Bowling Green. Behind 8now Hill, parallel 
with Steelhouse Lane, tho buihlii 
extend, for a short distance, .^s 
Street; but as we get further down StcoUioi 




JLane^ the buildings on tLe north-weatem side 
become fewer, until, after pasaing Newton Stteet, 
the tbomugbfare is on that aide open to ihb 

The first Metliodist Meeting Honse (referred to 
in chapter XV.) will be found on Bradford's plan 
in the place occupied by Kettle's Steelhooaes on 
WesUey 8. Further along, between Steelhouse 
Ltne and Lichfield Street, wiH he soen the Work* 

On the eastern side of StafTord Street, the old 
name of that thoroughfare will be found com- 
memoiated in ** Butts Lane," (now calltd Tauter 
8treet,} and from that point to the corner of 
Aston Street the land is marked "for hxiiUling," 
Lower down, the reader will notice several new 
features in Bradford's plan, " St Bartholomew's 
Chappell," and the block of houses eastwanl 
h«yond :Moor Street. The '* land for building " 
shown on Westley's plan between that street and 
Park Street is entirely built upon ; a portion of 
it Iwing occupied with the "jday -house," in whicli 
"the famed Wesley appear'd on the stage;" 
standing hack from the street, being approacbed 
by means of a narrow passage between two houses. 
In Dent«nd| the Kew St John's Chapel is shoivn, 
without the tower, which was not added until 
1762. Health Mill Lnne is called ** Cooper's Mill 
Lane ** — ^Icading to the mill wliich foruis so ]»ro- 
mmmt a feature of Wcstleya Prospect — and 
Floodgate Street heai» the name of << Water 
8tivt5t," although, as shown on the plan, the 
ilood-gat^'S were then in existence. Another 
Interesting feature of tliis rare plan is that it has 
all the principal iJins marked ; the Ca-^tf*' and 
F(^m imd the Whitr //or^inDigbeth, th*^ former 
nearly opposite ^lill Lane, and the latter; on the 
same side, a little below Park Street ; the Dolphm 
in tlw Com Cheaping, (Bull Iting,) and the Anchor^ 
ftbnost oppoeitev in Spiccr or Spiccal Street ; the 
Bmrn^ in High Street, below New Street ; the W-n 
and Chtck^iJ^^ on the other aide of the same street, 
tm the sit<5 now t^ccupied by Scotland Passage ; 
th« B*Ut* IIlhuI, near the Welsh Cross j and the 

Sniittiitwfi^ at tlie bottom of Snow Hill. The 
vjirious mt?e ting-houses are marked, including 
tliose which had arisen since the publication of 
Westley^s plan, but it is curious to notice that 
while that in Con's Lane is caDed ** PrcMt^rian^*' 
that belonging to the Baptists', in Cannon Street, 
is styled an ** Indt^pendmU Meeting Hoime.** 
CKhor IcML-al institutions of the period ore also 
ehov^^n on the plan : the various markfsts, as 
described in a previous chapter ; the Moat^ which 
still existed, although a manufactor)^ now occupied 
the site of the ancient castle of the lords of the 
manor ; * the moated Parsonage, tlie two Crosses, 
(the oKl cross at the end of Stafford Street Imving 
apparently been removed ;) the Post Oftiec, 
opposite the Grammai- School, in New Street ; the 
Blue Coat School ; the Pound, at the end of Pin- 
fold Strft't and Peck Lane; the weighing machine, 
at the top of Bull Street and Snow HiU ; the 
houses surrounding St Martin's Cliurch are also 

Turning to the pletmant park surrtjtmding New 
Hall, we find the upper ontl, nearest Colmore Eow, 
cut up into stn^et.9, and partly built upon. Livery 
Street and Church Street appear, the former 
extending l>eyon*l the groat Pool, the latter to the 
point at which it is now intersected by Bread 
Street, -^which did not then, however, exist 
Little Charles Slrcet, (which in 1870 became a 
part of }sew Edmund Street,) bears two naniee, 
on Bradford*s plan ; from Newliidl Street (called 
on the plan " Newport Street,") to Church Strtjet 
it is ** Charles Street," and from thence into Livery 
Street it bears the name of **IIill Street," — the 
present street of that name being unknown at that 

■ An AflrertiscmoDt In Uie GamtU of Jim. iiht 1708, Uiiift ilMeribM 

'* To bo L>t» «od entered on «t Lndy-Day next^ fur Uie Ttsna oT 
21 Years, or longer if i^quirrul, aU UiAt McJkiiiNKe lu* Tenemcsit, 
ronmioulj called iho Munt Huuao, coi^UlubiK four Rcmmim oa a 
VXnoTt and twlxtg three moj(oa hi^b, with a liu:go back KItchea 
Uiereio a4JoLtiijig, and convrnlt^nt WarehoUMf^ Shoptifn^, and otiker 
BuUdlngt contiguoua Uiart'to, Katiato U\ tlus Moat- Yard, in BLnnliij^ 
ham, and Utc in th* OecuimUott uf Mr Tliomjui Aljtic>\ Tl»o 
Prvmiaea ans moated, aU muiMl " i „.. .f^ tw ..mi . .. t,vi»,tjent 
for can7tng on a Urge Matiufu ivh, 

at a nnaU Expvnce, may bo r mIc of 

©niploymg 800 Workme^n, For jiarUitukit* ciiijuux; wl Mr. J*i*tspli 
Web«tar^ lu Digbtth, BiniUAKliarn." 


OLD AND NEW BIRMINGHAM. (Biminsluiia wid Caasl Xtvlg.tlm», 

late, and its site covered by a grove of trees and 
everal meadows. Our \qc4\1 authorities appear to 
have been anticipftted by their ancestors, in their 
idea of beautifying our public thoroughfares by 
planting trees therein, m the plan before us shows 
a line of trees on either side of New Street, on the 
western side of Temple Street, along Colmore 
Row, and in the Old Square. Among the streets 
shown on the plan wliich have since changed 
their names, may be mentioned Bewdley Street, 
(Ann Street,) Hull Lane, (^Vlrmmuuth Sti-eet,) 
Harkw Street, (Edmund Stieet,) Swinford Street, 
(the upper portion of New Street,) Corbett'a iUley, 
(Union Street,) and Swan Alley, (Lhe upper por- 
tion of Worcester Street,) as wull as thost^ already 
referred to on the Colmore Estate, 

With these few notes on the special features of 
this very rare and interesting old plan, we leave 
the facsimile of the print itself in the reader's 
hands, trusting that he may find some amusement 
in tracing out other particulars of the old town, 
as surveyed by Samuel Bradford, in 1750. 

The seventh docade of the eighteenth century 
is memorable in the historj'^ of iJirmingham, as 
having seen the introduction of canul navigation 
into this locality. The inland situation of the 
town, and the difficulty of transplanting the 
lieavy goods manufactured here, caused the move- 
ment to be taken up with energy, ollering, as it 
did, a cheaper and more expeditious mode of 
transit, and one far more nuited Uj the require- 
ments of the local trade. 

The first English canal (which was made by 
dee^tcning and widening the ancient Eoman **Fos3 
Dyke," from Lincoln to the liiver Trent,) was 
undertaken by Henry I., in n'21 ; but for more 
than five hundred years no further progress was 
made in inland navigation until 1608, when the 
New Kiver Canal was begun. But the first 
mudeni canal, {ue,^ of the ettjhieenth centuiy,) was 
the Sunkey Brook Canal, in Lancashire, wluch 
was begun in 1755, and which proved exceed iiigly 
pi-osperous and useful to the district, and remains 
a valuable property to the present limu ; and from 

that date the ** canal frenzy," as Hutton in bis 
autobiography terms it, grew with a n\pidity only 
equalled by that which chara^^terised the railway I 
projects in the nineteenth century* Tlie *' silent! 
highways," as the canals have been termed, wexs I 
as great a change to the people of the eighteenlti] 
century, accustomed as they had been to the j 
clumsy, tedious, and uncertain waggons, and th^l 
slow and equally uncertain pack-horses, on I he old, I 
ill-kept roods, as the rnilwaya wore to the |)eoplii1 
of the fii-st half of the nineteenth century. 

Binjiingham was not alow to avail hei-self of | 
the new mode of transit. On the 26th of January^^ 
1767, an advertisement appeared in the Gazttti'A 
calling a meeting to take into consideration 
scheme for cutting a canal through the South,! 
Staffordshii^ coal-JieW, to join the W^olverhamptoa j 
Cano!. The meeting was held on Wednesday,^ 
January 28, at the ** Swan Inn,'* at which 
great number of the inhabitants of the Towii"^J 
were present, and it was unanimously agreed 
liave the line of the proposed canal survey e<l ; thi 
celebrated engineer, Brindley, being applied to foe 
that puq>ose. On the Bth of June, the Gazeiti 
contained the following repcrfc of a meeting 
which Brindley submitted his plans : 


Swctii !mi, June 4th. 17<J7.^At a nuuierous Mcrtiii 
held this day, Jlr UiiniUey jiroduccd u I'lAnand Ktitiumti 
ot making a navigable Caaal froui the Towu to th 
Stuftbnlshire and Worcesttrshire Canal, through til 
principal Coal Works, by two ditrereut Tmcta, and gav 
it as Ids Opinion that the hvsX was from near New- Ha 
over Biniiinghani Heathy to or near the following Place»| ' 
viz,| Sinc'thwick, Oldbuiy, Tipton Gretn, Bilstou^ and 
from tlience to the SlxUTurdahirc and Wore t&terah ire Cimal, 
with Branches to diHennt Coal Works b^lwi^fu the 
reapcctivt; place, 

Af! the Undertaking stictUJi of grout Iraporfcajjcr, it 
ngret^l that there he a Meeting appointed at this place, on 
Friday nt^xt the 12th In^it., at Four o'clock in the After- 
noon of the same Day, in order to o[wn a 8ubs(:di»titrti to 
raise a fund lor the Expence of obtiiing ft Law, aiid com- 
pleting the Work, which it is .supposed will not cxc^ 
the Sum of Jt:3O,000 inclu«lin^' tdl Ex|»enrL'S- lu th»? me 
time Mr. Brindley *« Tlau, Ejiliuuito, ivnd Opluion, an 
bouie Calculations of the Coal likely to ptwrf, luny be seii 
at Mr. Meredith's, Attorney ut 1-aw, 

It in expected that ft Coromittc« for the Conditrt of th 
Undertaking will be chuso at the Miid M«etiuj^. 

I can*! N«Ti6auu?i.) OLD AKD NEW HniMINGHA^l 


We pejid further, in the Gazette of July IStli^ 

Btnninglmm K»vig»tion, July lOih, IT 66. —"Whereas 
•rrer&l nnnierous public ikftiuga have been held at the 
Fwan Inu, to consider of a Plnn for making n narjgable 
f 'wmi thfongh the principaj Coal Fields in this Xeij^h- 
l»cnirhood by Sniethwick^ Oldbury, Tipton Hrpcn, and 
BiUton, ID the Coiintiei of Salop iind Suffordj to join the 
Cansl now making between the Trent nnd Severn, at 
^4ddfraly, nto^ Wolverhampton, Mr, J.imes Brin*lley 
hftving niid* & Survey of it, cstiniatcfl that the Expence 
would not ficecd the Snm of £50,000 und on the Friday 
the 12th Day of Juno hist, in Pursuance of an AdvertiBC- 
mcnt for that Purjiose, a Subscription was opened to 
»pply t« Pjirllanicnt for Powera to make such Canal, and 
fur compleating the same. There is already £35,000 Bub- 
Brribed ; the Subscription Deeds will rontinue of>en at 
Btr Meredith's^ Attorney at Law, fSirrningham, until the 
2fitJi of July Inst, unless the whole sura of £50,000 be 
•oourr subscribed. At the same Place the proceedings of 
the Committee ip|)ointed for the Conduct of the applica- 
tiati may be refrrred Ut, By Order of tho Coirmittt^e. 

JoriN Mkuedith, S<)lidtor» 

By this time upwards of ^35,000 was alivady 
subscribed towards carrying uiit this project. A 
bill ** for ijiaking a Xavigalile Caual from Bir- 
mingham to Wolvorhamplon " wm introduced m 

riiament during the next session, (1768,) and 

Bived the roayal assent on the 26th of July in 
ihut year. On the " agreeable news " reaching 
Bimiinghain, *Hhe hells were set to ringing, 
which were conti lined the whole day." 

The length of tho canal was abont twenty-two 
miloa, and the expenj^ of juaking it about 
je70,000, divided into sliarea of £140 eacli, of 
vhich nu one was (dlowe<l to purchase mo 113 than 
lOL^ From ** A List of the l^ropiietoi-s of the 
BirminghATu Can^d Navigation," {issued March 30, 
1770,) we find that these shares were live hundred 
m naiober, and that the full number of ten were 
tidcl by UiH fallowing gentlemen : Tho*, Anson, 
KwIm of Shuckbru* ; Ann Colmore j Jer. Chirke, 
E§q,, of Westbromwich ; Peter Capper, EcdJand; 
Henry Cwrcr, Esq. j tho Earl of Dartmouth ; 
Jamm Farquharson ; John Frauncis ; Samuel 
Gillt4m ; Jolm Gaiton, Bristol ; the Earl of Hert- 
(onl; Sir Lister Holte, Bart, of Aston Hull; 
John Keltia ; John Lane, juu. ; Tliomas Lee ; 

Henry Yenour ; Joseph Wilkinson ; and William 
Welsh. John Ash, M,D., (founder of the General 
Hospital,) held five shares, as abo did Eichard 
Rabone, John and Edward Sneyd, (rt^sj>ectively,) 
Dr, Wm. Small, Thomas Westlcy, and utlicis 
whose names are well known and (In many casee,) 
honourably represented by their descendants^ in 
Birmingham to-day. »Stninge to say, the Father 
of Soho held only three aharoi*. Amoug other 
shareholders niay be mentioned, Poet Frecth, 
(who held one aharc,) Joseph Guest, Samuel Aria, 
Jaraes Brindley, (the engineer,) Jo,seidj Carles, 
fbdin (.irew, ^lichael La kin, Samuel Pemberton, 
juu., iJaniel and Josiah Uustun, etc. 

**Thi9 ginnd work,'* says liulton, ** like other 
productions of Bimiingham biith, was rather 
ha^ty ; the managers, not being able to find 
patience to worm round the hlU at Hmethwick, 
or cut through it, wisely travelled over it, by the 
help of twelve locks, — with six tliey mount the 
summit, and with si.^ more d<iscend to tho former 
level; forgetting the great waste uf water, and the 
sinoU supply from the rivulets, in climbing this 
curious bidder, cout^isting of twelve liquid sLepn/' ♦ 
The summit of this watery ladder is said to 
have been 460 feet above the level of the sea; but 
the inconvonienec of the numerous locks being 
a souree of continued complaint, the company 
eventually called in the aid of Telfoixl to remove 
them; hills were cut through to u perpondiiular 
depth of mure than seventy feet, and other im|>rove- 
ment^ efrected, so that **the aspect of this caual," 
says Mr. Bates, writing in 1849, " is not surpassed 
ill stupendous magnificence by any similar work 
in the world." 

The first boal^load of coals was brought to 
Birmingham by tliis canal Nov. 7th, 1760, the 
year of tho Stratford Jubdee; and the two events 
were commemorated by tho loc^d poet, John 
Freeth, (of whom we shall have more to say in 
our next chapter,) in an ode wldch is printed at 
the commencement of his Pitliikal Simffatf.r, of 
which a few stamuis may interest our nuidcrs : 

* HinUyry uf i&irituii^liiitJi, aUUi t'Uilioil, |> 4311*. 


OLD AKD NEW BIRMINGHAM. tBiniimghAiii «id cka*i Navifi^Uan.] 



For ancient deeda let History unfold 
The p[i^p where wonder's are enroll'd* 
And tell how jAf40N% from the CoiMun ihorr, 
Till? goMi'ii fleece in triumph bore, 

A nobltT tli4!ine the Mimi inspires, 

And every sldfiil Artist fires 
With heart -felt joy ft work to see 
Cut out far graod utility ; 
A project formed, by whifih, "tia plaiu, 
That thousauda must advantage gain ; 
An4l jture that pl&n muBt b« of noble u^% 
Which tends in price provision to i-educv. 
lik'st Nnvigfttion I soorco of golden dny^ 
Which Commeroe findsi and bri^hteas all ita w^ys. 

Sons of Comtticrf4 haste to pleasitr^, 

For the joy belongs to you ; 
Itay you live to rea[> the treiusiin* 

Thftt must hjippily ensue. 
Trensui"*^, from ^talfordian plains, 

Kiclier than Peruvian mines. 
And by whsit ttie Artist gains 

AU his principid de^igus. 


Not a Son of limping Vi ixan 
But must truly joyoun be ; 

Knvv from the bjin<jupt skulking, 
'Tis the Artist s Jubilee*. 
80 (|uick in jMnfonning tlua weighty atfair, 
So great was the iuduytry, prndeui-e, luid can?, 

Eighteen months have scarce run, 

Since the work was begun ; 

How pleading the sight I 

Wbat a scene of delight ! 
As the burgea come floating along : 

Then cease from your toil, 
Nor hammer nor file 
Be handled to-day. 
All care shall away, 
Whilst boniiroa are blazing, 
(What can be more pleasing ?) 
All fret -cost to gladden the throng. 

Could our Forefathers from the shades but trace 
Thy noble pkn 
Thdr Sons began, 
To what anuizement would the work apjicar J 
A train of Vessels floating by the place, 

Wliore sprightly 8tee<.U, at trumpet sound. 
In contest wing'd along the ground, 
And thouiiands to the pleasures would repair. 

But, what were tlioae days, 
Compared to these 1 
Eftch day at the licuih is a fair ; 

"The first Boat lojul of Coals w&a bruugbt to Town Xuveiubor Uiv 
OUj, ITOU, tho year af tli« BinUford Jubilee 

To see Bridges and Locks, 

And Boats on the Stocks, 

Are numbers continually there* 

Every breast, elate with joy, 

Gladly views the happy day ; 
Cease dissension, 
Lamp contention, 

From these regions haat« away. 
We alone on Trade depend ; 
Be in thai our ernnlation, 
'Twill support our Narigaliou, 
And the liquid trai^t extend. 
But for this good care ami trouble. 

Whiiih has nobly been displayM. 
For our Coals, this ins ton t, double 

What we give^ we must have paid. 

Griping souls, that live by fleecing, 

Ami ujwm their teams depf u»i. 
To ttll niuks of life how pleading, 

That their day is at an end, 

Long their tricks were overbearing, 

Now the vile oppressors may 
Sell their nags and bunt their gcering, 

For the roads 'twill better b«. 


Not a Sou of limping VuuiA!f 

But shall joyous be to-tlay ; 
Envy from the baui|uet skulking, 

'Tis the Artist*a Jubilee. 
• • • » • 

What mortals so happy as Bmningkum Boys f 
Wiiat people fo fltishM with the sweetest of joys f 
All hearts fraught with mil th at the Wharf shall appm 

Their aspects proclaim it the Jubilee yewr. 
And bu full as gay in their frolickdom« pmoka. 
As lh<%y who were dancing on Avofi*a green banks. 

Thf re never in war was lor victory won, 
A cause that deserv'd such respect from the Town ; 
Tlieii revel in gladness, let harmony flow, 
From the district of Bordslaj to Paradine-Row ; 
For true feeling joy on each breast must be wit>ught, 
When Coals under Five-pence j»er hundred are iKJught, , 
« • « • • 

Mnningham, for arts renown 'd 
O'er the globe sh.all foremost stand : 
Nor its vast increase be found 
To be equaird in the land. 
If the will of fancy ranges 
From the Ttigus to the Omi^^ 
Or from Lapland Clifls extend 
To the Paiagonian Strand, 
For mechanic skill and powV, 
In what kingdom, on what shore. 
Lies i\w place that can supply. 
The world with such variety f 



StiU mty onr YemcU, o*er the briny df ep, 
Ta fondry ports their rArioftn course* ke«p : 
May NiTigiilion, Liberty's dear friend, 
Her wont^tl fiimQ to greater Itngths extend ; 
Optfn her slaices juid throngh tnotint&in forc«i» 
To distant Lond^ kin t^tuy tntercoune : 
And Birminghnrnt for every curioua art 
Her Sons inr«?nt, bo Europi*§ fre&teit roart ; 
In eTAiy Euigdoia srer •l*nd eiiroird» 
Th« grand Mtehuiie Wartboose of the World t 

Half Htindrods, or less ; ind, indeed, there ii great 
Benson to believe, that the Price of Coal will come (after 
the present wiuter) cheaper than Four-pence Halfpenny 
per Hundred ; and that the Gentlemen who hare the 
condtictiitg of this important Affair, will uae all possible 
Hoani to pre?eiit Impositions of every kind," 

An office for the transaction of the company's 

business was erected at the western end of Paradise 

Street, (then called Paradise Eow,) which still 

iT- r 





■The fact which our local poet celebrated in his 
Tene, (^* Coals under fire pence per hnndrod ate 
beQgfatv'7 ^ ^^ ^^ ^^^^ ^ ^ ™^^ prosaic 
nazmer in the local journal of Nov. 6 : — 

**ll is with Pltasnre we eongratulate the Public on 
the pmbahility of Coal being brought by Water near this 
Town in a faw Dttys ; and that the Canal Company have 
tMl only rasolved to sell the same tlus Winter at their 
Wharf for yoarp«nce Half-penny per Hundred, long 
Wiiglil of 1201b., but to fix the Price of thair Delivery in 
tftty Q$9mt thereof : sad in order for the better aeoom- 
laodatioti of the Poor, they have determined to establish 
Cod^Yanbi in different Parts of the Town, as soon as 
jlMftii, irh«f« U «riU W told in Qnaotitios lo small «a 

remains, and from the steps of which, It is said, 
John Wesley preached during one of his visits to 
the town. The proprietors of the canal obtained 
from Sir T. Gooch a perpetual lecm of six acres of 
land for the construction of their wharves, on the 
south mde of Broad Street, at a rental of Ml per 

The last year of the period marked out for us 
in the present chapter — 1775 — is interesting as 
having seen Samuel Johnson once more in Bir- 
mingham, — not as on the occasion of his first visit, 
in 1733, a poor schoUr, seeking tmployment and 


OLD AND NEW BIEMINGHASL [Sunoftl JohnKm m Binnlogltaiu. 

glad to undertake the meanest literary drudgery, 
—but full of bonoura, (having recently received 
hifi diploma as Doctor of Laws, from the University 
of Oxford,) having talcen his place, as Thackeray 
afterwards said of Dickens, at the head of the whole 
tribe of men of letters of his lime, as poet, essayist, 
lexicographer, biographer, and critic, — he would 
scarcely he recognised as the young translator of 
Lobo's Abyssinia ^ and ivriter of the essays for 
Warren's Bii'mingham Journal, But he has not, 
in his days of prosperity, forgotten the friend of 
hm youth, and we tind him on the 10th of June 
in the year named, taking a post^hase, — driving 
was his favourite exercise, — from Oxford to Bir- 
mingham, intending to have passed a day or two 
with Edmimd Hector, but he tiiids his friend's 
house abeady occupied with company, and bo 
drives on to Licliiield, A few weeks later 
(August 27th) he writes, ** 1 have passed one day 
at Birmingham, with my old friend Hector, — 
there^s a w«me/— and his sister, an old love, My 
mistress is grown much older than my friend." 
Quoting Horace (Od. iv. 13), he adda, in reference 
to this lady : — 

'* What of her, of her is left, 

Who, brenthing Lovo*s own air, 
Mcof myself h«reftf'* 

His love, however, appears, from a conversation 
with Bo swell during his next Tisit to Birmingham, 
to have been of a quiet^ unromantic character. 
Unlike many whose early love has been doomed 
to disappointment, he did not feel that for him 
the world contained no other woman whom he 
could make his wife. His loquacious biognipher 
had probed him on this occasion with the ques- 
tion, " Pray, Bir, do you not suppose that there 
are fifty women in the world, with any one of 
whom a man may l)e as happy as with any one 
woman in particular?" **Ay, Sir," said Johnson, 
" fifty thousand," " Then, Sir, you are not of 
opinion "vvith some who imagine that certain men 
and certain women are made for each other, and 
that they cannot be happy if they miss their 
counterparts," " To be sure not, Sir," returned 

the doctor, ** I belieTG marriages would in general 
be as happy, and often more so, if they were oil 
made by the Lord Chancellor, npon a duo coa- 
Hideration of the character and circmnatanoe^^H 
without the parties having any choice in tho^B 
matter." We hope there are not many to be 
found to day, who would endorse the worfchl 
doctor's opinion on this subject. 

The next year — 1776 — we find the doctor « 
in Birmingham, being this time accompanied ' 
his fl(h/^ Achrttr^^ James BoswelL They had ' 
travelled from Oxford, calling at Stratford-on- 
Avon and Henley-in-Arden. From the lattei^H 
place they set out early on Friday, March 22nd, ^ 
and arrived in Birmingham about nine o'clock. _^ 
After breakfast^ they called on Edmund Hector^^f 
in the Old Square, (for he had also, like hia 
friend, risen to a position of ease and prosperity,) , 
**but," says Boswell, **a very stupid maid, who 
opened the door, told us that * her master was gon 
out ; ho was gone to the country ; she could nolj 
tell when he would return.* In short she gave i 
a very miserable reception." Johnson observe 
that ** she would have behaved no better to pooplfli 
who wanted him in the way of his profession,** 
Addressing the girl again, he said, ** My name i 
Johnson ; tell him I called. Will you remember 
the name 1 " The poor maid was probably con-^ 
fused at the doctor's rough manner and ponderou 
style of speech, and replied agam, (** with rustii 
simplicity, in the Warwickshire dialect," Bos- ' 
well tells us,) 'M don't understand you, Sir/' 
** Blockhead;* said the doctor, " I'll write." He, 
however, attempted once more to make her unde 
stand him, and roared loudly in her ear, '^JoJuison^^ 
"and then," says Boswell, **she catcbed ib 

The two visitors then left the Square au<| 
called on Mr. Lloyd, a quaker, and one of 
founders of the bank which still bears the name 
of one of the most honoured families of Bij 
muigham ; but here again they were doomed 
disappointment, Mr, Lloyd was not at hoB 
but Mrs. Lloyd was, and received them courteously 

temnel Jobaaou 1b BtrmingbunJ 



anil invited them to dmner, Johnson remarked 
to Boswell tliat "after the uncertamty of all human 
things at Hector's, this invitation came very well" 
They next took a walk through the town, and 
JokoBon expressed his pleasure at its growth. 
Since his sojourn and couilfihip in the town it 
had indeed altered it appearance* When he left 
it on the morning of that memorable ride to 
Derby he had reached the open countiy by the 
time he passed the house in which Hector now 
lived. Had he wished to be married in Eir- 
minghani, he had choice of but two churchea, 
St Iklnrtin's and St, Philip's, beside the little 
chapel in Deri tend. Now there were four, and 
the old Chapel of Si John the Baptist had given 
place to a larger, and — according to the taste of the 
timeft^handsomer building, capable of holding 
more than seven hundred peraons. Hi en the 
only dramatic performances in the town were to 
be witnessed in the fields near Temple Street, 
now there were two liandsome theatres. When 
he translated Lobo^s Ahymnia there was but a 
single bookseller's shop in the town, and only the 
rudest appliances for the production of the book ; 
BOW the booksellers were somewhat numerous, 
find he might have purchased a^ fine a library of 
booka, and as gqod a collection of prints, at the 
shop of William Hutton, as anywhere in the 
kingdom ; while for printing, John Baskerville 
had made the town famous throughout the 
civilized world. 

.Jbl they walked about they met both of the 
lpwi.lmii6T> they were in search of ; ilrst Mr. Lloyd, 
and afterwards ** friend Hedor^ as Mr* Lloyd 
CfiUed him," Johnson and his friend Hector 
wonM appear to have soon forgotten tlie presence 
of the other two, in their joy at meeting each 
other once again ; and, says Boswell, '* Mr. Lloyd 
find I left them together, while he obligingly 
iltowad me some of the manufactures of this 
rery curious assemblage of artificers." They all 
net at dinner at Mr. Lloyd's^ and were enter- 
tained with great hospitahty, 

Tho qttiet timplidty of maimers, as well as 

the spiritual -m in dedn ess of this d^uaker family 
charmed both Boswell and Johnson, insomuch 
that the latter, tory and churchman that he was, 
felt bound to admit that ** he liked individuals 
among the quakers, but not the sect" Boswell 
evidently felt that it would not be safe to 
intrcMlucc, in Johnson^s presence, at Mr. Lloyd's, 
any questions concerning the peculiarities of their 
faith. His love of books, however, frustrated his 
good intentions, and, asking to look at Baskeir- 
ville's fine quarto edition of ** Barclay's Apology," 
it happened to open at the chapter on baptism, 
and Johnson's controversial spirit was let loose. 
He entered into an argument on the subject, in a 
manner which Boswell liimself admits was by no 
means gentle, and, taking up a false position to 
begin with, he soon became entangled in the 
meshes of the controversy, and big quiet and 
gentle quaker opponents had the advantage of 
hiuu It was certainly a most ill-timed, as well as 
unfair attack upon the religious opinions of the 
people who had received him as a guest in so 
hospitable a manner, and probably no one regretted 
it after calm consideration more than the worthy 
doctor himself. 

Mr. Hector accompanied Boswell on a visit to 
the faiiious manufactory of Matthew Boulton, at 
Soho, which, he tells us, the ingenious proprietor 
showed him himself to the best advantage. 
" I wished," says Boswell, "Johnson had been with 
us \ for it was a scene which I should have been 
glad to contemplate by his light. The vaatness 
and the contrivance of some of the machinery 
would have ' matched his mighty mind.* I shall 
never forget Mr. Boulton's expression to me, * I 
sell here, Sir, what all the world desires to have 
— Power. He had about seven hundred people 
at work. I contemplated him as an (ran chieftain ^ 
and he seemed to be a father to his tribe." The 
lo<iuacious biographer of Johnson tells further a 
story of Boulton's relations with his workpeople. 
"One of them," he says, "came to hini com- 
plaining greviously of his landlord, for having 
distr^ned his goods, * Your landlord is in the 

OLD AND KEW BIR^nNGHAM, [StmttdJoUtkmioBirmiDgiifta, 

right, Smith, (said Boulton). But I'll tell you 
what 1 find you a friend who will hij down one 
hall of your rent, and TU lay down the other; 
and you shall have your goods again/ " 

Ketuming from Soho, Boswell found Johnson 
"sitting placidly at tea, with his first lave, 
[Mrs. Careless], who, though now advanced in 
years^ was a genteel woman* Teiy agreeable and 

state of deatL'* To him tha quiet seclusion 
the * city of the dead ' seemed to possess fa 
more life than the busy bustling town they had left 
two hours before. And so passes the figure of 
** the hero as man of letters ** from the hiatoij, 
of Birmingham for ever. 

If the reader will turn again for a moment to 
the facsimile of Bradford's Plan, he will see that 
in 1750 the town ended, in the dirsction of 

^ %■ 



THE MOAT, Uttp. UT.) 
Trom a Pmt and Ink Sktteh^ W, Eamptr) fn thtjoumiw of T. Aurn^ S»^, 

Boswell wished to have remained longer in the 
town, but his companion, (for whom Birmingham 
does not appear to have had many channs, 
notwithstanding the number of friends he had in 
the place,) was anxious to get on to his native 
city, Lichfield^ to which place they journeyed in 
the dark, and when Johnson saw the lamps of 
the city,^he said, ** Now we are getting ^out of_a 

Coleshill Street, a little beyond Stafford Street 
Further on he will notice the land marked ** fo 
building,'^ but that for only hidf the disti 
along Coleshill Street ; beyond tliut, it is openJ 
country, under cultivation. ** I well remember/ 
aays Hutton, ** eeventy-one years ago, July 15th,1 
1741, standing with my face towards the east^ 
against Pritehetf s timber yard^ now the carii^a 

Dr. Aih Bad Aihted.] 



warehouse, Dale End, when all the lands before 
me, to the garrison, were meadows, and on my 
left not a house was erected.'' 

Towards the end of the third quarter of 
the century, however, a change came over the 
prospect. Dr. Ash, of whom we have already 
heard, in connection with the General Hospital, 
obtained from Sir Lister Holte a lease, for 
ninety-nine years, of a large plot of land 
adjoining the Coleshill Eoad, and there he 
erected what Hutton calls "a sumptuous house." 
In addition to his connection with the General 
Hospital, he had great claims upon the respect 
and esteem of his fellow-townamen, both as an 
eminently skilful physician, and an active and 
worthy citizen. He was, as we shall see in our 
next chapter, one of the first commissioners ap- 
pointed to carry out the provisions of the Light- 
ing and Street Improvement Act, (generally 
known as the " Lamp Act) ; " he was one of the 
shareholders or proprietors of the Birmingham 
Canal ; the originator, as we have seen, of the 
Grenend Hospital, and one of its first physicians ; 
and in every way seems to have identified him- 
self with the public life and improvement of the 
town in which he lived. In 1783 he saved 
Hntton's life, as the historian himself tells us. In 
our historian's autobiography he gives a more de- 
tafled account of his illness. Death from an infiani- 
mation was hourly expected. When the first 
sympton of improvement appeared, the doctor, 
Hutton tells us, with quaint circumstantiality, 
" holding the curtain in his hand said, * You are 

as safe as a bug in a rug.' " It is impossible to 
repress a smile — looking at the stately and 
dignified portrait of the worthy physician, 
by Sir Joshua Keynolds — when we recall this 
droll announcement of his patient's recovery 
from what seemed likely to have proved a fatal 

Dr. Ash's practice began to decline, and this, 
says Hutton, " hurt his spirits, and he told me 
he had built on ehouse too much." He disposed 
of the lease in 1789 to Mr. John Brooke, an 
attorney, left the town, and spent the remainder 
of his days in London. He was threatened, in 
his old age, with mental alienation, and devised a 
curious method of curing it, by sedulously apply- 
ing himself to the study of botany and mathe- 
matics, which he continued until hia mental 
faculties had regained their equilibrium. A mag- 
nificent portrait of him by Sir Joshua Keynolds, 
(already referred to), was placed in the Board- 
room of the General Hospital, and is generally 
considered to be one of that great master's finest 
works. An engraving of it, (from a drawing by 
Mr. G. H. Bernasconi, of this town,) appears on 
pap:e 143. 

The estate was soon covered by streets, and 
became one of the most populous outskirts 
of the town, taking the name of Ashted, 
from its first resident. But the history of 
the rise and growth of this old suburb, and of 
the breaking up of the other old estates in the 
immediate vicinity of the town, must be reserved 
for a future chapter. 



[The Lftiap Act. 



The prrilramary meeting, Fob., 17fi6— Action ix^tpcmed— Meeting of tbfl InbiMt&atfl in Deoember, 1768— Additional CUnw*— Propcuwd 
Street ImprovementJi— OpptwUion— WtUUm Hutton'i reaioni tor oppoaSng the meaanr©— Opiwaitian maetlngB and canT»»— The cmm 
clearlj stated— A ciirioiiB argument— Hutton'a defence of tli« impr07emtat«— EpigrtLm by " PcwtlPrccth '*— Tbe Ael: paased--Tlte flrtt 
Commistloncrs— VarioQs clatuee— The eecond Act. 

It now becomes^oui pleasant duty to tell tlie 
story of the first Bimiingliam improvement 
scheme, Wc have already referred to this 
suhjcct in our second notice of William 
Hutton, * but it will be necessary here to give 
a more detailed account of that movement by 
which the town for the first time in her history 
acquired something like rc^l control over the 
encroachments of her citizens upon the public 
ways, and inaugurated that long series of local 
improvements which have raised her from the 
position of a vast straggling village to that of a 
noble city, and have culminated in the great 
scheme which is now in active operation, for 
clearing a large area of those wretched dwellings 
with which our ancestors, in their ignorance or 
neglect of sanitary laws, and in their anxiety to 
occupy every available foot of building land, 
covered the finest situation in the town. 

On the 7th of February, 1766, a meeting of 
the inhabitants was held "at the House of Joseph 
Cooke, Victualler, in the Cherry Orchard," to con* 
aider the desirability of obtaining an Act of Par- 
liament for ** repairing, cleansing, and enlightening 
the Streets of this Town," — that desirable reform 
being likely to ** tend to the Suppression of many 
Disorders therein, and to the Preservation of the 
Persons and Properties of the Inhabitants." The 
foUowing pbn of the intended Bill was submitted 
to the consideration of the meeting : — 

*' That every Inhabitantj witMn the Town, who shall 
be seized of a real Estate of such Yearly Value, or pos- 
aeased of a Fer^oud Estate alone, or real aud Personal 
^tate together^ to such Amoujst ad shall be tbeu agreed 

-jip. iW-7. 

upon, sbaD be Trustees for patting the said Act inti 
Eieciition> who, or the major Part of them, being not less 
in Number than seven, shall have fall power to Piircha*e 
Lampa, and to appoint Scavengers, Rakers, Lanip-Iighters, 
and other |iroper Officers, (with reasonable Salaries,) and 
to remove them at Pleasure, and to issue out Orders, from 
Tims to Time, for the Hepairhig, Cleaning, and Lighting 
the said Streets ; and at their annual or other Meetings to 
appoint Assessors, who shall have Powir to Assess upon 
evtrj person holding or occupying any Messnage, House, 
Mfilthoua«, or any other Building, or Garden Ground, 
within the said Town, (in the same manner as the Rates 
for the Poor arc usually assessed, or as near thereto as can 
be,) any Sum, not cjtceeding one Shilling in the Poond, 
to be collected yearly or oftener, as the Trustees shall 
direct ; with Power to appoint yearly so many Collectors 
as shall be thought necessary, who are to take upon them 
the Office under a certain Penalty to be agreed upon, but 
not to be obliged to serve more tlian once in seven years, 
with Proper and necessary Powers in the said Tmstees to 
compel the assessing, coUacting, paying, and applying the 
said Money for the Purposes aforesaid, and for settUng f 
determining any disputes relating to the said Act, or 1 
Execution thereof.'* 

The intended application to Parliament, how-' 
ever, had to be postponed, " on account of the 
shortness of time allowed by the Hon. House of 
Commons for receiWng Bills," the 16th of 
February being the last day ; and the subject fell 
into abeyance until the end of 1768, J 

In the December of that year, however, the" 
matter was re\^ived in earnest The first note of 
the revival is to be found in the OoMUe 
December 10, as follows i — 

*'A Meeting of the Inhabitants la desired at 
Chamber over tlie Cross, on Tuesday next, at Eleivai 
o'clock in the Forenoon, to consider of a Petition to P* 
If anient for Lighting and Cleaning the Streets of 
Town, &c." 

At this meeting the inhabitants unanimously^ 
agreed to petition ParliazDent for an Act to 

TIm Lamp JLdl 



and clean the streets, and likewise to insert in the 
said Act the following clauses : — 

" To Purchase and take down the Hoose in the Boll 
Ring in the Foaeession of Francis Moles» the upper Raand- 
•boat House, and the Houses at the end of Kew-Strect, 
belonging to Sir Thomaa Gooch and Henry Carver, Esq. ; 
to TCimore l^nisances in the Streets, and for the removal 
of the Beast- Market to Dal« End ; the Monry for the 
sboTc PnrpoMS to be raised by a Rate upon the Inhaf utants, 
not to exceed £ight*pence in the Fonnd per Annum," 

The house in the possession of Francis Moles 
was one of those which, as we hare said in a pre- 
▼iotis chapter, surrounded St* Martin's Church 
much in the same way as those on the south side 
of Christ Chuich, in New Street Dr. Langford 
saja of Moles* house, ** Mrs, Price, ray mother- 
m-kw, remembers it quite well The bed rooms 
were over the gate and part of the walk by which 
the people went to church." 

Some idea of the choked-up appearance of the 
church maybe obtained from the annexed facsimile 
of that portion of Bradford's Plan. 



^ ..^••kimiira***^^ 




Tiic Upper Eound-about House was in the Bull 
Bing, which was still blocked up with buildings^ 
ia shown in both Westlay's and Bradford's plans. 

We have already* described the appearance 
and poaition of the houses which blocked up the 
end of J^ew Street, but the reader wiU be better 
alsia to understand the wretched appearance of the 


entrance to what has become the principal street 
of the town, before the Lamp Act came into 
operation, from the small section of Bradford's 
plan given below ; showing the end of New 
Street in which the swine market was then held. 




Like all projects, however beneficial, which 
involve the expenditure of public money, the 
Lamp Act met with opponition from unreasoning 
economists, ** who seemed to prefer continuing in 
darkness and mire without tax, to cleanliness, 
light, and wider streets with eightpence in the 
pound to pay."* One expressed himself in the 
local journal in favour of a voluntary subscript 
tion, rather than a compulsoiy rate, (hoping, no 
doubt, by that means to enjoy the benefits of the 
local improvements without being called upon to 
contribute to their cost>) and stated that " a 
majority appeared greatly dissatisfied with that 
part of the scheme of enforcing a law to compel, 
when numbers were ready to subscribe to remove 
nuisances," But perhaps the greatest opposition 
was encountered amongst the local governing 
bodies themselves. William Hutton, who was an 
overseer of the Poor, admits in his autobiography 
that the opposition arose ''more by his means 
than any other person's," and adds " an obvious 
reason." The historian occupied two of the 
houses which blocked up the end of New Street| 

* Jawnr: life of WiUiam Hunon, p. lU, 




and, R8 they suited him, he was disinclined 
to give them up for the iuiproveiaent of the 

"All the terms the opposition could obtain, 
and which were all I wanted," ho says, ** after 
many hundred pounds had been spent, were that 
the buildings should not come down, nor he 
included in the Act/' 

With the new year we find the opposition to 
the proposed improvements increasing, a meeting 
of the opponents lieing held at the ** Seven Stars,*^ 
on tbo 16th of Januarj^ 1760, at which it was 
determined " that a fair Enquiry shouhl be made 
of every Inhabitant thro' the six Districts or 
Quai'ters of the Tov:n, who pay the Parochial 
Dues, whether they chuse or disapprove the said 
Act." The residt of this enquiry was that 237 
inhabitants declared themselves in favour of the 
improvements, while the objectors numbered 
1,236. In announcing the result of the poD, in 
the GiJiwtht the opponents of the said Act added 
that, as "the general Voice of the People is against 
the Act, it was thought advisable to open a Sub- 
scription to prevent such Act parsing into a Law, 
wliich was accordingly done, and very Hberally 
subscribeil to, an Example that 'tis hoped will be 
followed by all who are inclinable to defeat so 
oppressive and ill-judged a Scheme." 

In the same issue of the local newspaper which 
contained the announcement of the result of the 
canvas, appeared a letter signed "T. F.," showing 
how the votes against the scheme were obtained. 
" The enquiry," says the writer, ** was very unfair, 
[the inliabitants] being only asked if they were 
for a perpetual tax of oightpence in the pound, 
not specifying the Advantages to be received ; and 
a great many names were put down conta^ry to 
the inclinations and express orders of the diflerent 
persons ; and at the same time the true state of 
the case was not known to a great many to whom 
the above application was made.*' This corrreB* 
pondent^ in continuing his letter, takes the oppor- 
tunity of setting the case in a clear and concise 
view, and aa Ma statement embodies, in a few 

brief sentences, the ca.rly history and objects of 
the movement, it is worth quoting here in full : — 

**A Meeting was desired, by pubUc K<rtice in tH 
Cliupclioa upon the 2Sth of August, to be held upon 1 
Thiirsdjiy following, wheu it wiia the uuaiumoui Voice < 
the Persona Present, that the Present intended AppUia 
tion should be made ; and a further Mseting adver 
and wfts ordered agreeable to their Deairo. A great many ' 
PerioDs met in oonaequeijce of the said Notice, and it was 
their uDanimous Opinions that a Subacription should 
immediately set fonvartU, and those present subscrib 
each a Guiiieii, to the amount of Fifty, and several Persoo 
went about the Town for a further Subscription, wh 
met with the greatest Encouragement ; another Meeting 
was afterwards appointed, when about four or five Persona 
appeared against the -intended Bill ; but ao great a 
Number being for it, a Committee waa appointed of the 
most rcspcctal>lo Pereona in Town, to consider whati 
be applied for, and the intended Application wi 
to the undermentioned Particulars ; that Power be petj 
tioned for a Rate upon the Inhabitants not to exee 
Eight-pcDce in the Pound per Annum, Two-pence 
which ia to be appropriated towards the remoral 
Nuisances, and Sixpence for Lighting the Streets : th 
above Two-pence will be entirely dropt, when the ioWoK 
ing Buildings are remoTed, which will not exceed 
Years, and may be very resaouftbly expected to be pu 
chased in four Yearsi ; the Buildings to be remoTed 
the Old House in the BuU-Eing, leading to the Chure 
Yard, the up[K;r Round-about House, and to open 
Way into New -Street. 

*' To remove the Nuisances that remain in the Street, 
such as, lately, that Wforc Mr. Luke Bell's Etoor, which 
lay Six Months in the principal Street, and entirely 
obstructed the Foot Way. A small Fine to be levied 
after Notice upon Continuance. 

**To oblige the Drivers of all Water-Carta* and otbeo 
carrying for Hire, to have a Halter to the Head of the 
Shaft Horse, by which he shall be led when passing 
through the Streets of the Town ; to have the Houses in 
each Street Numbered and Pain ted, upon the Door, 
Door Posts ; and to have the Be^ist Market removed fro^ 
the High.strcct to Dale-End ; th«»e are the Clan 
intended to be introduced into the Bill ; and though I 
Power may be obtained, that dd. in the Pound may 
lovid, it is expected, that not above Four-peace in the 
Pound will be wanted, for Lighting the Streets ; and no 
impartial Person can imagine, that any one that rents a 
House ot Eight Pounds a Y'car, can think it a great 
Burden to pay Four Shillings per Annum, if the Whole ii 
collected, and if Four-pence in the Pound will be sufficienlj 
no more than Two Shillinga and Eight-pence per Annu 
will be required, and all other Houses in Proportion ; 
the Public Advantage of having lighted and claan Street^ 
will more than comi^ensato for the Pdymeat/' 

Still, notwithstanding this calm and lue 

* Employed la MlUog water ftn- ^iimltlfiu yiarrKJMi'*, ah 
I ftom tiu Digbtth and Lady Willi. 

7h« lABip^ifli.] 



statement of the case, prejudice yet existed, and 
ocoafiionally shows iteelf in the Gazette's corres- 
pondence column in a very droll character ; as in 
the case of the simple individual who ar^ied that 
the comparatively few robberies and accidents 
having occurred in the town *'may perhaps be in 
part ascribed to its want of Lamps 1" **Oppor- 

Ale-honses in dark Nights" might lead to an 
increase of tippling and other vices, and gravely 
suggeBted that instead of rating the inhabitanU 
for town improvements, **a temporary Duty of 
3d in the Pound " should be levied, " to purchase 
two large Pieces of Ground for burying the Dead> 
and erecting two stately Edifices, to the Honour 


tunity/' says this wiseacre, '* makes a Thief, so 
lAmpa frequently give a Yillain an Opportunity 
of perpetrating Mischief, which is prevented by 
Darkness, and his fear of being observed prowhng 
About the Streets with a Light ; and this seems 
lo bo Terified by the City of London, which is 
vilehfid and lighted at a very great £xpence» yet, 
|iev«rihe]f!ss Robbery and Mischief is very frequent 
Iberci for the truth of wbich X appeal to the daily 
^peift-** He also feared that the '* lighting the 
AHneat m £xtmvftgaiit Home from Taverns and 

and Glory of God, the Ornament of the Town, 
and the eternal felicity of Thousands unhom/' 

Ever the same. Fanatical opponents of neces- 
sary reforms, and especially sanitary reforms, 
would have the money cast into the treasury, 
or "given to the poor/* rather than waded in 
obtaUxing that virtue which a great religious 
reformer has placed next to Godline^ itself. 

It is gratifying to know that Huttoa's opposition 
to the scheme did not extend to the lighting or 
other improvements in the direction of cleanliness 



[TiM LAiap A«L 

and comfort, but had leferenoe solely to the 
removal of bis premises, 

** It was justly obsarved," he say a, ** that 
robheiy was a work of darlcnesa, therefore to 
introduce light would, in some measure^ protect 
property. That in a town like Birminghamj full 
of commerce and inhabitants, where necessity 
leads to continual action, no part ol the twenty- 
four hours ought to be dark. That, to avoid 
darkaess, is sometimes to avoid insult ; and that 
by the light of 700 lamps, many mifortimate 
accidents would be prevented. It was also 
obsejTVed, that in course of time, the buildings in 
tome of the ancient streets had encroached upon 
the path four or five feet on each aide ; which 
caused an irregular line, and made those streets 
eight or ten feet narrower, that are now used by 
70,000 people^ than they were when used only by 
a tenth part of that number ; and, that their con- 
fined width rendered the passage dangerous to 
children, women, and feeble age, particularly on 
the market day and Saturday evening. That if 
former encroachments could not be recovered, 
future ought to be prevented ; And that necessity 
pleads for a wider street now than heretofore, 
not only because the inhabitants, being more 
numerous, require more room, but the buildings, 
being more elevated, obstruct the light, the sun, 
and the air, which obstructions tend to^^eickneas 
and inconveniency. 

"Narrow streets, with modem buildings, are 
generally dirty, for want of these natural helps ; 
as Bigbeth, St. Martin's Lane, Swan Alley,* 
Carr'a-lane, &c. The narrower the street, the less 
B can be influenced by the sun and wind, conse- 
quently the more the dirt will abound ; and by 
experimental observations on stagnate water in 
the street, it is found extremely prejudicial to 
health* And also, the laiger the number of 
people, the more the necessity to watch over their 
mterest with a guardian's eye." + 

• ThlB, u wUl ba M«n from Bfiulfoid'a PLm. fonaed th« upper 
portfon of WorcctUr BtrMt. (rrotn New Stiwt to Philip Str^^t.) 

t HiitoTT of Blrmlitgh&m, tklM idltiom, ITBA ; pp. l»T-i. 

In March "Poet Pfeeth" contributed to the 
discussion an Epigram **0n the Bill for depend- 
ing for removing Public Nuisancea" 

Wonder not that this Contention, 

Feudfl and Jealonsiea create ; 
Envy, Discord and DissenMon, 

Arc true Copies of the State 

The greatest Nmsancea we want 

Fairly from the Land to sbore, 
And worse than any Town Complaint, 

And eT'ry Day ar« aeen aboTe. 

J. F 

It is pleasant to be able to record that thfl^l 
opposition was unsuccessful On the 24th ofH 
April the Qazetie announced that the Act had 
been passed by the House of Commons on the 
previous Friday (April 2l5t) with only one vote 
ID the negative, and on the first of May the same 
journal contained the welcome news that it had 
received the assent of the upper house on Thursday™ 
AprO 27, and awaited only the Royal Assent t^H 
give effect to its provisions* This final stage was 
reached early in Jlay, and the first act of parlia- 
ment for the improvement of the town became^— 
law, *' and thus, after a sharp fights the foundatiosH 
was laid of regular local government in Birming- 
ham."* It was entitled : 

" An 'Act for 'laying open and widening certain wiy» 
and paasagefl ^within the Town of Binningham, and for 
cleanaing and lighting the streets, ways, lanes, and 
passages there^ and for removing and preventing nuisances 
and obstructions therein," ^^ 

The preamble of the Act is as follows : ^^k 

^* Whereas the Tewn of Birmingham, in the County of 
Warwick, is a large^ populous, and trading Town. And 
whereas certain ways and passages within the said Town 
are too narrow for the commodious issuing and repassing 
of passcngers/waggons, and other carriages, to the great 
danger^ end inconvenience of the inhabitants of the said 
Town^ and of per^ns resorting thereto. And whereas it 
would greatly tend to the convenience of the said Town 
if a certiun ancient building siutate near the Market Place, 
called the'Upper Roundabout House^ was taken down, and 
the ground upon which the same now stands was laid open. 
And whereas it would add greatly to the safety and advan- 
tage of the said Town if the streets, hines, ways, and_ 
passages thereof were kept clean and properly lighted, i 
kept free from nuisances, obstructions, and annoyance^J 

* J. T« Bunee : Hlatoiy ef thi CorpOKattoo, t, T^ 

Fifty Commissioners were appointed, who, ac- 
cording to the Act^ were to be in habitants of the 
town^ mted to the poor at not Ic^s than X 1 5 a year, 
or poseessed of real or personal estate of the value 
of £100* Our readers will doubtleBS be interested 
in learning the names of our first local legislators, 
who were named in the Act, as follows : 

John Aah, M. D. 
WilliAm John Banner 
John Baskemlle 
Samuel Bmdbourne 
ThomftS Bingham 
Jftmes Butler 
Simtiel Balcer 
Henry Carver 
Francis Coalea 
Thomas CamlMa 
John Cope 

Thomaa Falconhridgv 
John Freer 
Samutfl Freeth 
John Ford 

Samuel Garbett, Eiq, 
Samuel Galton 
Ki chard Goolden 
John Gold 
Samuel Harrey 
Gregory Hicks 
James Jackson 
John Kettle 
Sampson Lloyd^ sen. 
Sampson Lloyd, jun. 

Michael Lakin 
Thomaa Lutwyche 
Thomas Lawrence 
William May 
Benjamin Mansell 
Jolin iloody 
John Oseknd 
Thomaa Pemherton 
William Russell 
John Kylaad 
Thomas Russell 
Richard Eabone 
John Rogers 
WilUamSmaH, M.D. 
Joseph Smith 
John Taylor, Esq. 
Joseph Thomaa 
John Turner, sen, 
John Tamer, jun. 
Joseph Wilkinson 
William WaUingham 
WiUiam Welch 
EMas Wallin 
Joseph Webster 
Thomas Wcatley 

, It will not be necessary here to repeat in ftill 
provisions of the Act, most of which have 
already been mentioned in the preEminary dis- 
cosiion and the " statement of facts " on page 168. 
A few cniioujs notes therefrom, may, however, 
amuse and interest the reader The inbuhitants, 
for instance, were (for the convenience of the 
acavengers) to sweep the streets and ways for a 
space of twelve feet from the front of their 
premises, " every Friday, between the hours of six 
in the morning and two in the afternoon/' and 
were also to ** collect and put together the dirt 
md ton in the said streets, lanes, ways, and 
paaaageSf with the least obstruction to the way, 
toadi and passage therein respectively that may 
be^ to the end the same may be ready for the 
•eavenger to carry away." The space in front of 
voir! houaea. riearl walls, waste land, ** churches^ 

churchyards, chapels, meeting-houses, the school 
called the Free School, and other public buildings,'* 
was to be cleansed by the town scavengers, and 
the scavengers were to ring a belt to give notice 
to the inhabitants that they might bring out ashes 
and other refuse from tlieir houses for removal* 
Private sweepings might be undertaken by the 
Commissioners, on an annual payment being made 
by the householder for that purpose. 

The market ** for the sale of neat cattle within 
the said town," which had ** usually been held 
in the principal street and greatest thoroughfare, 
called the High Street, to the great danger and 
ineonvenience of all persons living and resorting 
there,*' is to be removed to ** that part of the 
street called Dale End, which is between the 
house now in the occupation of Clement Satter- 
thwaite and the end of Chapel Street." The 
buildings scheduled for purchase are named as 
follows: (1) "At the entrance into New Street; 
four Tenements fronting the High Street ; two of 
them in the occupation of W. Hutton, one of 
Jn. Greaves, and one of Th. Bn^K>n with five 
tenements backwards" or in the rear of those 
mentioned ; ** the front towards the High Street 
{including the present Passage about 12 feet) 
being about 64 feet; the front towards New- 
street about 70 feet" (2) "The Upper Kound- 
about House in the occupation of Samuel Willets 
or his Under Tenants," about twenty-eight feet by 
nineteen feet (3) ** The house fronting the Com 
Market, in the occupation of Francis Moles ; [one 
of those surrounding St Martin's Church,] the 
front towards the Corn Market about fifteen feet ; 
on the side towards the Passage leading into St, 
Martin's Church- Yard, about thirty feet; and the 
back part thereof, towards the said Church- Yard^ 
about fifteen feet/' Mutton's houses, as we shall 
see, did not come down imtil an Extension of the 
Act had been pa&sed, in 1773. 

The new Commiasioners met for the first time 
on the 22 nd of May, at the Castle Inn, and 
reeolved (1) " That^ in oider no one may 
plead Ignorance of the Law, the following Adver- 


[Tbt LAiap Axfl 

tiaement [an Abstract of the Act] 8lio\3ld be in- 
aerted/* (2) "That the Regulation as to the 
removal of the cattle miirlcet to Dale Eud bo 
dispensed witK Hill Thursday the 25th inst., and 
that the Town Cryera do publish the same by Bell 
on the Fair Day, and the two fallowing Tliurs- 
days, and tbat tlie Beadles do attend in the High 

inclined to fix Names at the ends of ih^ ^^i^Ma, 
and Number the Housips/' 

The ^cond act, for the extension of the Com- 
misioners' powers, as well as of their number, was 
pussed in 1 773, and immediately afterwards they 
announced their intention of proceeding with the 
negocifttions for the pa^ehaae of the houses at the 

Street on the 25th inst, and the Ist of June, to 
prevent Country People incurring the Penalty 
through mistake,*' (3) "That unless Annoyances 
are removed as the Act of Parliament directs, the 
Offenders will be immediately proceeded against." 
(4) **Tkst the Commissioners do meet at the 
Castle Inn on Tuesday next the 23rd inst, at four 
o'clock in the afternoon, when they will be ready 
to receive proposals from any person or persons 

end of New Street Onr readera will douh 
remember Hutton'a ground of opposition to tbe' 
first Act, in 1766, and it will be interesting to i 
his reasons for complying with its provisions in 
1773. Under date 177^, in hia autobiography,. 
he says : — " By an amendment of the Lamp Act^i 
my houses must come down. It happened thiKt | 
the old house where I now reside, [in High Street, 
opposite the end of New Street,] was upon aals^ 

'f^fmih'^&tt,^Bo^km^^\ OLD AND NEW BIRMINGHAM. 


I duret not Jet the opportunity slip, but con- 
Bidered it a tool by Tvbich I must carry on trade. 
I puTcbiised it for ei^ht hundred and thirty- 
five guiDoaa It was then under a mortgage for 
£400. I was obliged to pay the residue ; and as 
the premises would open to New Street were my 
two houses removed, I now wished them down." 
The new Act provided that twenty -nine persona 
should be added to the fifty Commissioners 
previously appointed ; viz., Eichard Anderton, 
Samuel Aris, Matthew Barker, William Capper, 
John Francis, Sampson Freetb, WilUam HuHon, 
William Hodgkins, Joseph Jultes, Edmund Wace 
Patteson, Edward Palmer, Samuel PembertoUj 
jun., Samuel Bay, William Kyland, Josiah 
Bogers, Samuel Steward, Timothy Smith, John 
Taylor, jam, John Ward, Thomas Wight, (grocer,) 
Daniel Bond, Thomas Colemore, of Edgbaston 

Street; WillJam Button; William Holden, of 
New Street ; John Harris, of Cannon Street ; 
Luke Bell, Walter Oakley, Thomas Gisboume, 
and Joseph Thoraason. 

Of William Ilutton's appointment as a Com- 
missioner our readers have already heard,* as 
well as of his action thereon, and the way in 
which bis zeal for the carrying out of the pro- 
visions of the Act was chocked by the self-interest 
of hia broths Commissioners; we oan^not, how- 
ever, help remarking her© that his indignation at 
the manner in which they sought to bene lit them- 
selves and their friends rather than to carry ont 
the act in its integrity, seems somewhat incon- 
gruous by the side of his own action in the matter 
of the High Street premises. 

We shall have to speak of the appearance of the 
town under the Commissioners in a future chapter. 


h% CoJXbe fioUM— Tb« Book Clab— PoetlCAl iDTltation cArdt- " Puddin^-timft ''— " Our good friendt At Bottom ud thote it Snw 
»tk "— Banktr • Hill- " J. Frea "^BMkenrtlle** Priiitlug— Hdrd TliiiM Taxation— Birmingham StmatB- EaclwUttkal NA\ri«'&torf 
^FopnlAjr AmiiitmentB— End of tbe WorJd^'* Banbtu^ t^umpi ""LoDging for Feace. 

Isr onr notice of the old charities of Birmingham* 
it Waa mentioned that the meetings in connec- 
tion with one of those foundations (Jackson's 
chanty) were held at Charles Freeth's Coffee 
Ronjie, in Bell Street This house became 
noteworthy, both for the quality of the enter- 
tainmenti and the genial character of its host. 
Amongst the lovers of good-fellowship who 
gathered^ after their daily labour was ended, for 
the evening gosaip, around the Preside of this 
mug old-fashioned hostelry, would be seen the 
merry, good-humoured face of mine host's pro- 
' miaing son ; a lad much given to making verses^ 
and fitting them to the popular airs of the day. 
By-and-by the son took his father's place, and 
the coffee-house kept by " Poet Freeth " became 
the favourite reaort of all daaoea. 

* Ote^itriL,^. 79. 

About the middle of the eighteenth century, 
a few book-lovers of the town formed themselves 
into a society for the purpose of purchasing and 
circulating among themselves such hooks as they 
desired to read ; and from this little society 
arose the Birmingham Book Club, which has 
now flourished for more than a century and a 
quarter, and ** still exists in a green, vigorous, 
and flourishing old ^e."t The early meetings of 
this society were held at the house of "Poet 
Freeth," who was one of its most active members, 
by whom the invitations to their annual dinners 
were sent out, written in verse, as became one 
who was reputed for his '* poetical " talents* 
These invitation-versea contain many references to 
passing events, and uanally conclude by giving the 

•Cliftp. JPdl.; pa«elST. 
f J. A. Uagford. LL.D* 


OLD Amy NEW BTEMTNGHAM. t- Po.t Fwrth *- and ui# Book oiav 

toaat of tho evening. Frotn a yery complete 
collection of these tickets, in the possession of 
W. Frnnks^Bealc^ Esq., of Chester Eoad, Erding- 
ton, we are enabled to give our readers a few 
ezamplet of Freeth's versifying abilities. The 
earliest is dated Kov. 29, 1770. The host says, 
in inviting his friends to the annual feast : — 
In this wrangUng flQctuatiug SUte-jng^ling Age, 
When we neither have Peace, nor m War doro ongnge ; 
(Tbo* they t«ll us to Day that Jamaica ia lost^ 
It may be contradicted the very next Post.) 
I beg yoQ*d for once, as 'twill drown Care and Sorrow, 
Eeverse the old Phrase, and take Thought for to-morrow : 
In Mirth (giving Sentiment, Stoiy, or Song, 
Ne er fear but tbe Hours will pasa chearful along ; 
There's nothing I know of can slacken the Cheer, 
For I cannot expect n King's Messenger here ; 
And the Talons of Law, Truth, and Reason repelii 
For Chief Justice MansJUM haa lost all hia Nails. 
So beg you'd attend, and see what's to be done, 
'Tis extet Pudding-Time when St. J/artiw'5 strikes One. 
Nor. 25, 1770. J. Fasbtb* 

The phrase ** pudding-tiino," which occtirs in 
several of these earlier invitations, seems to indi- 
cate that at Poet Fneth's the old-fashioned 
custom of " pudding first " was respected. 

The annual dinner of 1771 was held on the 
date of the invitation of the previous year, con- 
sequently the card of invitation ia dated Kov. 28, 
It is the smallest in the collection, and would 
seem to indicate that card-board was somewhat 
acarce, as it is printed on tite half of a playing- 
card :— 


Ht that would taste of noble Fare, 

Lat Lim To-morrow here repair ; 

For by Parnassus 'tis my Pride, 

To have my Table well «upply*d. 

No Bard good Living e'er refuses, 

For Roast Meat never sours the Mnaea : 

And feaatiog Days in this good Town 

Where ne'er I trow more freqnent grown. 

At Pudding-Time bid Care begone, 

Twenty may dine as well as one. 
Nov. 28, 1771. J. Friith* 

Our freedom-loving fathers, in their enjoyment 
(at a very early season of the year) of ** young 
ducks and green peas/' did not forget their 
cousins across the Atlantic, who, in 1775, were 
£ghting for national independence. Accordingly, 

we find them remembered at the meeting on tl 
16th of June in that year : — 

As few when the Seaaon its kindness displsya. 
But love to partake of young Ducks and green 
And aa in the Town there is known to be plenty. 
To-morrow I purpose to cater for twenty. 
Padding time is at One —to the Custom adhere. 
For the summons must please that invites to good Chi 
In the TOASTS of the Day as a friend to the Und, 
And foremost for FREEDOM may EFFINGHAM stam 
Not forgetting Lord GKANBY a SAVILLE and BUR 
Onr good friends at BOSTON and those at NEW YO! 

Birmingham ; June^ 1 5th 1775* 

The same sentiment is expressed in the invi 

tion-verses issued ^ov. 21st in the same year 


Whilst some to the Throne are ADDRESSES oonvtying^ 
For Slaughter and Slavery servilely praying, 
And false as their Language is fulsome pretend, 
They'll hazard their Lives, and their Fortunes they 11 spend ; 
Accept from a Lover of peace this PETITION, 
To festive enjoyment the Card of admission : 
Nert FRIDAY I purpose to garnish my Boatd, 
For Feasting I always to fighting preferr*d< 
As friends to Conciliat'ry Measures are those, 
Who wish well to COMMERCE and FREEDOM espouse, 
May those who oppose 'em and more Blood would spill, 
Be forc'd into Service, and mount BUNKER's HILL. 

November 21st, 1776. 

It will be noticed that in the two preceding 
invitations the poet adopts the signature ol 
"J. Free,'' which appears on aU the cards ^m 
this date to 1786. 

In June, 1776, the poet appears to have lacked 
either inspiration or theme, for he contents hixih 
self with the following brief not# : — 


*» FRIDAY next being FEAST DAY, tho Favour of 
your Company is humbly requested to DINE at J. 
FREE'S, at ONE o'Clock. 

** Juno 12. 1776." 

The invitation card of 1778 beats evidence-— ill 
the appearance of the type and the genend neat" 
neas which renders it a contrast to every ot})er in 
the [series — of its having been printed with the 
types of John Baskenrille, The next card of 
interest is that of Jun6| 1782 : — 

As a Glass of good Port for the te^gning Diaeaaa, 
Is the only Spedfie that best Mems to pUsaa ; 



• Po€t fr^th - mod ihe Book Club,] OLD AlTD NEW BIRMmOHAM, 


By Wmj of proventive, in making a Tnal, 

I trust to a Bottle youll hare no dci^ial ; 

On Friday iny best I intend to uncork, 

And to those who can brandish a good Knife and Fork^ 

1 laean as a Eelish to throw in their Way. 

Young Dock. Ham, and Chicken, but not a ^een Pea : 

{A Bumper to Rodxhy, the Subject will bear it, 

I d toaat him in Water, but rather in Claret ;) 

Then pleoae to attend and fee what's to be done, 

Time of Action commences at Half after One. 

June 11, 1782. J. FKEE. 

In the next we find the publican-poet com- 
plaining sadly of the times : — 

On Friday observe, Beef and Ptidding*a the Text, 
111 live well this Year, if a Bonkrapt the ncxtt 
And that, or sing Ballads, will sure be my Lot, 
For the Profits on Ale-selling scarce boil the Pot ; 
Though heavy Complaints in the Land have arose 
Respecting the Times — you'll my Freodom excuse, 
For thos« in Distress, recent Actions have shewn, 
The Colliers have Feelings, but Maltsters have none ; 
And Riots are certain to sadden the Year, 
When Six-penny Loaves but Three -pounders appear. 
. Bat Mormnring cease, 'tis a Folly to grieve, 

|Time and Patience will all our Misfortunes relieve, 
et a Bumper go round, since a Peace is at Hand, 
To ELIOTT the brave, and bis Veteran Band. 

BlUMiNOEAM, Nov. 27, 82. J. FREE, 

Taxation, '* the blessed Effects of the American 
War," has begun to fall heavily upon the much- 
•nduTing Biitish public, and the first note of it— 
A note which is seldom absent again from Freeth's 
rhymed invitations — appears in 1783 : — 



For FminAY prepare, the Enjoyment embraoe, 
Of Feasting before the fresh Duties take Place ; 
For Tax upon Tax may he carried too far, 
The hUsatd Effects of the Amerkan W^ar; 
Which, again to pursue, let Lord North have the lead, 
And hell tax every Tooth a Man has in his Head : 
The Burthens, tho' hard, we are still to have more. 
And TKADR's to be Bogg'd, without hurting the Poor ; 
Jof a Tax on EECEIFIS, amongst other such Jokes, 
Cs one of Charles Fox's luxurious Strokes, 
That slipt the Old Budget— a Beauty not known, 
Tin CUAKLES and his BLrE-Ri8B0N'i> Lobdship 

mode one ; 
A fftn^ral Reform has been fought for in vain,^ — 
There ia but one Method Eedresa to obtain ; 
Many Plana may be formed— yet thcre*« nothing so 

Am tha TOWEB-HILL STAMP public ETik to cnra. 
BiaMjjcoiAM* Juna 19, 1718. J. FREE. 

The card issued 1784, bears the name of 
Swinney as printer, who succeeded Baskerville in 
the business of type-founding. In the verses 
contained thereon Freeth refers to ** Birmingham 
streets, — always needing repair,"— but this was 
before the days of wood pavement ; what would 
the old poet say if he could see them in 1 878 1 


FRIDAY next, if youVe nothing material on Hand, 
Let the plentiful Board your Attention command ; 
The Limb of a Goose, on a Plate of Green Peas, 
1 make not a Doubt, will the Appetite please : 
Look sharp for a ^Yhile, and, if one will not do. 
Disdain to be sparing — make certain of two. 

As to Matters of State, strange as may be tho Rout ! 
Not much doe^ it matter who's in or who's oirr : 
As GovEByMENT Wheels I can only compare 

To Birmingham Streets always wanting Repair ; 

For when Levies run high, and are chcariully paid. 
Ducks and Drakes of the Cash, are too frequently made. 

May the Youth at the Helm, whom the People admire, 
Inherit those Virtues which dwelt in his Sire ! 
And a Bumper be given— That Wrangling may cease, 
Leas Taxes, more Trade — and with all the World Peace ♦ 

Birmingfutm, June 9th 17 Si. J. FREE. 

In the next Freeth changes his metre, but 
increased taxation is still the burden of his song : 


On the t^nth day of June 

Should my Voice be in tune, 
To sing (though my powers art small). 

About those who Trade, 

The State-pack-uoese have made, 
I'll endeavour to honour your call. 

But over stout Ale, 

As a Song or a Tale, 
Not the mind altogether will auit ; 

1 therefore to please, 

Shall have Geese and GR£EK*FSia, 
With Beee and Plumb-puudino to boot. 

Tho* Pitt loses ground, 

I hope 'twill be found, 
That the TOtiTH one good action has done. 

By clapping a Tax, 

Upon Bacheloe's backs, 
And letting the Females alone. 

Juw 8, 1785, 

In his next year's rhyme, be has a sly hit at 
the " canal frenzy," to which wa have referred in 
a pravious chaptar : — 



V* Poet FrMtb " utd ^e Book CUttKl 



My regular Snmmoni I tnist yotiMl obey, 

Tbc sixUcnth of June ia for Feastinji the Day j 

AdJ in a Bbort Time though much Work may b« done, 

I "beg you'd be seated by Half after One. 

The Seasons arp kind, Pi**nty covers the Ground, 

Yet the KoAST Beef of England briuga Six-pence per 

Pound I 
Tis a CATCH as can World, some for this, some for thiitj 
The Stocks si ill advance, Navioatton is flat ; 
Ktiny minda in a Contest were lately concorn'd, 
And the Heads of the Church Navigators are turn'd I 
Providing a War very soon should take Place, 
Our Monarch, 1 hope, will consider the Case ; 
Think, think gracious Geouoe, of the Bishops, I pray, 
One Half keep at home— let the Rest go to Sea. 


BIESIIXOHAM, June 13, 1786. 

Our next card has reference to several poplar 

amusements in the town at that peaiod. The 

"Dancing Bogs*' liad made their first appearance 

here in 1785, from Sadler's Wells Theatre, aod 

were announced to "exhibit their astonishing 

performances . , . at the New Street Theatre, 

after tbo entertainments of ropo and wire4ancing, 

tumbling, and other feats of activity hij the famous 

Little Devil and the rest of the company from 

Sadler's Wells." That '* the famous Little Devil *' 

was in Birmingham at the date of Freeth*s card, 

(Novemher, 1787) is shown by the following 

paragraph from the Gazette of the 5th of that 

month :— 

*'The Little Devil and La Belb Espagfiola, who art 
confessedly unrivaird in their profession, were near making 
their exit in a very disagreeable way, on Friday Evening, 
at the Theatre in this Town, Some evil -minded person in 
the pit having diabolically cut the tight-rope in several 
places, which eertdnly endangered the limbs (if not the 
lives of the periormtrs). It was, however, happily ptr- 
ceived time enough to prevent any misfortune, though it 
deiJiived the anditnce for that night of some part of the 
agiecnbk and wondeiful inrroiniance. We hope the 
manapers will, in future, appoint some faithful person to 
detect the perpetrator of Bueh cmelly wanton acta, &ad 
spflie no expence in punithiug them." 

It ia time now to return to the verses which 

refer to these performances : 

Dinner tscactly at Halfpaii Om. 
ON Friday next, St. Am»BEW*ii Day, 
1 beg my Summons you'll obey, 
For thro*h« Kingdom, Reason lays, 

NovicifBEE's short and gloomy Days, 
Require, from hence dull Care to chace, 
With Liuron which the Nerves will brace. 
The Hoiu-t that's sound will Friendship prize, 
Wliat's Life without convivial Joys f 
Bail as Trade is, or imd niay keep, 
TuMBLEKS Q g]onous Harvest reap ; 
And Dancing Dogs and DitriLs twanp^ 
With nntick Feats the Town to charm ; 
— But when tlic Appetite is keen, 
In choiMst Fare— as Charms are seen — 
Honour the Call, good Cheer yott*ll find. 
And Relaxation give the mind. 
Nov. 2Sth, 7787. J. FREETH. 

The townsfolk seem to have been troubled, in 

1 788, by a prophecy of the approaching end of 

the world ; and to this, as well as to the trial of 

Warren Hastings, which had commenoed on the 

1 3th of February in that year, reference was made 

by the local poet in his invitation to the usual 

Society Feast on the 10th of June :— 

I have not a doubt but young Gec«£ and green Peas, 
Next Friday, well cook'd, will the Appetite please ; 
Your Attendance I beg — well assnr'd that my Board 
Will plenty of other good Dishes afford— 
Such as CDrcKE>-3 and Ham, as the Season may suit, 
The finest of Beef and PttTMB-PirnDiJio to boot ; 
Besides, after playing a good KxtFB and FoECf 
Pre Ale stout and bright— and I mean to uncork, 
Of Port, a few Bottles, by way of fair trial, 
And long as it lasts you will have no denial 
AU this to accomplish 1 find myself able, 
Better Fare PETER PINDAR had ne'er on his Table 
The Promise is handsome — what Poet can beat it T 
Nor care I a Button how oft I repeat it — 
For if OD the Words of a Sage we depend, 
The World will in fcriy-tight Yean have an end ; 
So whether or not Wareen Hastings gets by, 
There scarce will be Time Sir Elijah to tiy — 
Then a Bumper give roond, when the Heart is at ease, 
*' That our Children may ro&ke the beat Uie of their 

Birmingham, June 10, 1783, J. FREETH. 

It would appear, from the "Society** kureatel 

verses of November 1789, that pugiilam was at 

that time a favourite pastime in the town. ** Ban- : 

bury tliumps " doubtless bad reference to a hero. 

of * the ring ' of that name : — 

Dinner ai Half -past One, 
My CoKTBST, which ftdl thirty minntea wiU hM, 
I heipe, to attend yen will feel younaU bold : 


OLD AKD NEW BIRMINGHAM. rPoetFrMth'*»d the Book ChiV. 

"May the Olive Beanch gladden the Year Ninety- 

" Fkeb Teadb and good Fellowship all the World o'er." 

BiBMiNOHAM, Noyember 27, 1793. 

In 1794 the invitation took the form of a note, 
from " Smith, Son, & Smith," followed by eight 
lines of verse in a more hopeful strain than many 
of that decade : — 

The Favour of your Company to Sup at J. 
Freeth*8t on Friday next, will much oblige, 

December £, 1794- Smith, Son, tk Smith. 

A JOCULAR hour, with a good-natur'd Friend, 
What mortal can have an objection to spend f 
And since to be happy, united, and free, 
The beauty of life is — as all will agree ; 
Good will to promote, and true friendship to nourish. 
That England— Old England for ever may flourish, 
My ToABT is- -"To Commerce a i|>eedy increase," 
"And all the world over, a Permanent Peace." 

J. F. 

Green peas were later in the following year, 
and the feast was perforce lacking in that cus- 
tomary item : — 

Society Fecut, 
Dinner exactly at Two o'Cloek, 
THE Stomach, if rightly in tune. 

Young Geese will undoubtedly please ; 
But though near the middle of June, 
I fear we shall lack of Gbeen Peas. 

My Liquor is brilliant and stout, 

If short in the eatable Score, 
Then make the Deficiency out. 

By drinking a Bottle the more. 

The Black Feather'd Eagle of Prutrick, 

Our Ministry nicely cajoles ; 
The over-grown She-Bear of Jiuana, 

Has shamefully pluck'd the poor Poles. 

But now for the Toast of the Day : — 

" May Peace quickly gladden the Shore, 
" Humanity ev'ry State sway, 
"And Harmony all the World o'er." 

Birmingham, June 10, 1795. 

If space would permit, we might continue our 
quotations from these genial invitations of the 
mirth-loving host of the ** Leicester Arms," but 
to do this would carry us further into the history 
of our town than we are prepared at present to 
advance, and would occupy a greater proportion of 
this history than their actual importance warrants ; 
but as we shall have occasion again to refer to the 
writinga of Freeth, at a later date, we may perhaps 
then find space for a few more of these sprightly 

While on the subject of the entertainment pro- 
vided 9X_ an old-fashioned inn, our readers may be 
inteneil^d in knowing something of the cost of 
good living in those day& An old tavern bill is 
before us, dated December 28, 1797, for entertain- 
ment received at Charles Wilday's, Shakespear 
Tavern, New Street, as follows : — 

£ 8. d. 


— 12 

Tea and Coflfee - 

— 40 

1 Red Port - 

— 8 6 

2 Sheny .... 

— 90 

Witness eating 

— 10 

Ale - - - - 

— 70 


— 10 

Paper - - - . 

— 6 


— 2 6 

Yxvlt - - - . 

— 4 6 

2 6 


8 6 

Coach Hire 


2 18 6 


PnpOMdB for baltdlii^ two new cborcbeft— The Act |niim4— MqaIc&I iCaterUimtcteDU io aid of Ui« buUdltig af 8t tftrj't— DeiCiiptton of 
fit. Mary's— The butldii^ of St. Pual'a— The Fe«tiviil of \7T&-~Thb BgSQtoti Window— Tlie New tfMtiHf tnd Dr. Prleitlej— Cftnnon 
BtTMt lleetlng houwe— Methodlim— Ciut'* Lah*— Scott't Tnt^t, etc. 


Wb now once more take up the story of the 
chtirchos and sects in Birmmgham^ at the date at 
which our laat notice closed, viz., 1760. 

As we have already seen, in our survey of the 
town in 17G0, the church accommodation was 
already becoming inadequate to the needs of the 
npidly growing population and greatly extended 
area coyered by the town, especially in the 
direction of Kew HaU and the district lying 
between the General Hospital and Steelhouse 
Lane. To meet this want an association was 
formed to raise the necessary funds for building 
two churches in the localities mentioned, and a 
statement was laid before the inhabitants, in the 
columns of An/if Gazettt"^ March 2, 1772^ ns 
foUowi : 

Th« gM'At Want of Public Plai^M of Divine Worsliip in 
thii Town, Imving induced Numbers of the Inhabitants 
to take into Consideratioo the Expediency of building one 
or mon> additional Churches, several public Meetings 
hare be^n held for that Purpose ; when it hns b«en unani- 
motialy resolired that at least two additional Churches were 
mmtcd for tlie Accommodation of the lohabitauta, the 
present not being capable of conlaiuiug One Tenth Part 
of tliove profesaiug the Doctrine of the Chorch of England : 
To take olT m great a Reproach from Civil Society, and 
rtmoro even the Appearance of Contempt for Holy 
Religion, it waa determined, if possible, to obtain m 
piout and raloable an acquisition , and to that End 
AppUcalion wms made to the Several Proprietors of Land 
C^tJgiioaa to the Town, requesting Land for so good a 
Porpoae, without Regard to Partiality of Situation, two 
of whom (viz.), Mis* Wearoan, and Charles Colemore, 
Eiq.» not only consented to give the necessary Land« but 
SutmcHbed liberally towards perfecting the Business. 

ddoceM liaving attended the flatter tbui far, Subscrip- 
Itei wtr^ ml on Foot for Monies to apply to Parliament, 
tad a pQiitiQii agreeably thereto has been presented for 
L»iTa to bring in a BUI for buMing two Churches, one of 

which is intended to be built near to Cat}ierino>Street, * 
and the other near to New Hall. 

The following Plan for which has been adopted : — 

Ist. — That separate Subscriptions be opened to raise 
Money for building the Churchet, with Houses for the 
Residence of the officiating Clcrgymeu ; such Subscrip- 
tions to l>e paid by Four equal instalments, giving six 
Months' public Notice of the Days of Payment. 

2dly, — That the Gentlemen iii the Neigbbouibood and 
every Subscriber of Twenty Pouuds be appointed Trustees 
for the Conduct and Direction of the Business. 

3dly* — That tha Salary to each Oficiating Clergyman be 
fixed by Parliament, at not more than Two H undred Pounds, 
nor less than One Hundred and Fifty Pounds, per Annum, 
to arise from the Kneel ings. 

4thly.— That the rents of the Kneelings between the 
two extremes be fixed by the Trustees. 

5thly> — That the Surplice Fees be fixed by Parliament. 

Stilly. — That no Diminution be made in the Fees of the 
Incumbents of Saint ilortin's ; on the contrary, that they 
receive their full fees for all Offices performed at tbo new 
Intended Churches. 

7thly.— That certain Districts be marked out for the 
Officiating Clergymen, to have the Cure of Souls, >isit the 
Siclt, and do the neceAsary Duties ; but that such Dis- 
tricts be not deemed separate Parishes, or be subject to 
separate Assessments, but the Butldinp to be kept in 
Repair by the General Levy of the Towu. 

Stilly. — That two Wardens he api>ointed to each of ths 
Churches, who shall take a proportionable Part of the 
Town in collecting the Lev)^ 

9thly. — That the Pews and Kneelings be disiH>sed of to 
the Subscribers by Ballot, according to their respective 
Subscriptions, with such other Clauses and Regulations 
as are usual, or as Parliament may think proper to adopt. 

The Persons who have hitherto prompted this Business 

will, in a few ^Days, begin to collect Subscriptions, but 

thought it necessary, prenously thereto, to advertise ths 

I Inhabitants of their Intentions, at the same Time to 

I disavow every Degree of PurtiaUty in the Choice of th^ 

I Spots of Land identified, and to assure the Inhabitants 

that they have been actuated only by Dispositions to 

render the ObjecU in View as extensively useful as might 


• Now Wbtttall BtfMt, 



lClnircb«« and aeeu. 1100*1780. 

S<?parate Deeds of Sabscriptions will be handed about, 
80 that every Individual will make which Clmrch he 
pleases the object, no Persuasions being intended to be 
aaed ; hut they hope, and have no Doubt, that the 
Ne<'*ssity of the Case will plead for itself, and that every 
Individual will cheerfully contribute his Quota, influenced 
only by a Deaire to promote so pions and necessary a 

The appeal for subscriptions was liberally 
respond cmI to, and before the close of the mouth 
•*a bill was ordered to bo brought into Parliament 
for one or more Churches in thlij Town"] the Act 
was obtained during the same session for buikling 
two Chaj>els, as proposed by the asBociation* On 
the 2JJth of July a meeting of the trustees was 
held, at which it was decided to call upon all 
those who had prombed subscriptions ** towards 
erecting^ iinishing, and completing one of the said 
Chapels, upon the land of ^lary Weaman, and in 
the said Act distinguished by the name of the 
Chapcd of St. Mary," to pay into the hands of 
Mr. John Cottrell, of Walmer Lane, the collator 
appointed by the triL^teea, twenty-five per cent, of 
the amount promised. 

In December, an advertisement was inserted in 
the local newspaper requesting " any Architect or 
Builder capable of such an Undertaking, to send 
or deliver in l*lans, Elevations, and Estimates, 
sealed up," to Mr. John Cottrell; and further 
added a brief description of the intended chapel 
as follows I "The said Chapel to be buUt in an 
Octagon or any other Form as the said Architects 
shall think proper, and to contain 1,000 Bitlings. 
The Breadth of the Seats to be two Feet eleven 
Inches, the Middle Isle eight Feet, and the out- 
side Isles to be four Feet wide." 

A series of musical performances, similar to the 
festivals of later years, were given in the Septem- 
ber of 1774 in aid of the funds fur the completion 
of the chapeL The Gazette of September 12th 
contained the following notice of these per- 
fonnancea : 

On Wedneadny last the Mnaical Entertainments b^gau 
here, when Handel's Grand Dettingen Tc Deuni, Jubilate, 
and Coronation Anthem, were performed in St. Philip's 
Church to A crowded and respectable Audience, ajid in the 

Evening at the New Theatre, Alexander's Fesst was ex- 
hibited with great Applanse.^^>n Thursday Morning, at 
St. Philip s Church, the Oratorio of Judas Maecabaeua; and 
in the Eveniug, at the Theatre, a Grand MiseelUneotu 
Concert, was performed to a very brilliant and numer< 
Company, with reiterated Plaudits, in which the Vc 
Pcrfonncra, j»artirularly Mifts Davis, and Mrs. Wright 
disco vcre<l very capital Powers ; and the InstrumeDti 
Performance in ^>neral gave the highest satisfaction,-* 
And on Friday Morning the Sacred Oratorio of Messiah 
waa performed at the Chim^h. — The Produce of the 
different Entertainments is supposed to amount to about 
800/., wliich sum is to be applied towards the Completio! 
of St Jlary's ChapeL— The Balls on Wedneaday 
Thursday Evenings were uncommonly splendid, and i 
honoured with the Presence of many Persons of the fin 
Rank and Distinrtion in this Kingdom. 

The land for the building was given by Dorothy" 
and Mary Weaman ; the latter also gave largely_ 
towards the fund for its orectioni and in her wflj 
vested the right of presentation ; her memoi; 
being perpetuated in the name of the saint 
whom the chapel was dedicated. The build 
was (as described in the instructions to architectajj 
of an octagonal form, and was built of bricli 
** not overcharged," says Button, ** with light \ 
strength," having a neat, but small, stone steeple 
on the western side, containing one bell, and a 
clock. The latter, in Ilutton's day, ** was seldom 
seen to go .right ; but,*' he adds, ** the wonder 
ceases if there are xo works within." 
interior is spacious, but somewhat gloomy, froij 
the amallness of the windows ; it contains nav 
chancel, side aisle, and gallety, and will accon 
modate nearly 1700 persons. 

In the case of the numerous churches 
Birmingham it will be difficult to observe 
usutil rule as to strict chronology, as the evenG 
in their history, subsequent to their foimdation, 
are gcneially too unimportant to form the 
subject of a second notice. We propose, 
therefore, to anticipate, in these cases, 
general history of the town, by completii 
the history and description of each chtuch 
a single notice. 

The Chapel of St Mary was, in 1841, made a 
district church, and a population of 8500 aools 
assigned to it. The living (which was first held 

Ukuiivlie«tii4 Sect*, 1700*1780 1 



by the Rer. John Kylaud) -was onginally worth 
aliout X20Q per auniiiii, is now ahuut i;250. 

The lai^ and pleasant cburcbyard was, about 
1830» planted with troos, and contains several 
intensstirig momoriiilB, incliiding one of the pious 
Hester Aim Kogers. 

In 1776 the preliminary steps were taken for 
the erection of the second church authorised by 
the Act of 1772. On the 18th of March the fol- 
lowing iuinouncement appeared in the Gazette : 

Binuinfjbam, March 14, 1776. — Religion, — At a 
Meeting held tliis Da)% of the Trustees appointed by Act 
of Parliament, for BuUding two Chapels m this Town, it 
was resolved to begin St. PatTLs, as soon as a sufficient 
Sttin fthall be Bubsctibod for that PurpOrje ; and they intend 
waiting on the Pnblic to solicit their generous Contiibu* 
Hooa for so necessary an ondartaldng. 

Gkorge Holloway, 

N.B. — Subscription Books are also left with Pearson 
and BoUason, Printers of this Paf>er. 

The building waa not, however, commenced 

until the next year^ the first stone being laid on 

the 29th of May. A brief account of the 

eewmony appeared in the loc^l journM of June 

2nJ, as follows :— 

On Thuisday last, the first Stone of St. PaQls Chapel 
was laid by one of the Trustees, and under the stone was 

■ placed a Medal, with an Inscription in Commemoration 
thereof. — As it is intended to exccuto the Building not 
only with as much Expedition aa possible^ but with that 
Pcnnanency and Taste which may do credit to the Town, 
It is therefore hoped that e?ery necessary Encouragement 

►will be given to the Undertaking. 
The land for the building was given by Charles 
fioliuore, Esq, ; and the design was furnished by 
Mr. Francis Goodwyn- The Gazette annomiced, 
in December, that the Chapel would be ready for 
consecration by the first of March, 1779, but^ 
•carding to a MS. note, by William Hamper, in 
a copy of the third edition of Hutton's History of 
Biimingham,^ it was not consecrated until 1780. 
It is most substantially built of atone^ but was 
crriginally exceedingly heavy in appearance, owing 
to the absence of a spire, having only a low, 
sqtMire tower, (a^ will be seen from our engraving 
oa page 162) ; the tower, although forming part 
of the original design, remaining unbuilt for more 

* la tiM poasauioa of 3fr. iiiUnaaa Avery. 

than forty yean.* When added, however, (in 
1823,) it relieved, by its light ami elegant 
appearance, the otherwise excoeeding ugliness of 
the building itself. 

In the year 1778, us mentioned in our chapter 
on the early history of the General Hospital, the 
second Musical Festival took pjlace. The hospital 
was not, as yet, opened, snd,^Iike the Chapel in 
course of erection, — stood greatly in need of an 
addition to its funds. The Committee which had 
been formed for tlie building of the Chapel 
requested the Hospital Board to unite with them 
in <* giving an Oratorio " for the joint benefit of 
the Chapel and the Hospital This suggestion 
met with the approval of the Hospital Board, 
and the performances were fixed for the 2nd, 3rd, 
ajid 4th of September. The programme was as 
follows : 

On WEDNESDAY Morning next, the 2d of September, 
at St. Pin lip's Chuhch, will be performed, in the Courae 
of the Service (which will begin at Half-past Ten precisely) 
The Overture of ESTHER ; HANDEL'S Grand DET- 
the OLD HUNDREDTH PSALil accompanied; and, 
after a Sermon to be preached by the Rev. Mr. YOUNG, 
Evening, at the Tueatre, in New Street, a GRAND 
MISCELLANEOUS CONCERT consisting of select Vocal 
and Instrumental Pieces, by the priucipol Performers. 

On Thursday Morning the 3rd. at St. PHILIPS, the 
Oratorio of JUDAS MACCABEUS, and between the 
Acts an ORGAN CONCERTO by Mr. CLARK. In the 
Evening at the Theatre, the iSereuata of ACIS and 
GALATEA ; between the parts of which wilt be iatro* 
ducod some favourite Pieces, and an ODE to MAY 
composed by Mr. HAERIS. 

On Friday Morning the 4th, at St Philips, thi atcwd 
Oratoiuo of MKSfttAH. lij the Evening at the Tiieatbje, 
several capital Pieoea, by the principal Performers, 

Principal Voca! Performers, Misa MAHON, Miss 
SALMON, kc, kc. 

Principal Instrumental Performers, Mr. CRANMER 
(First YioUn at the Opera House, Londooh Messrs. 
MAHON, kc, kc. The other ParU of the Band, which 

'* Ifr. W. Bat^a. In a MS, note to bia adzniiablc Guide, layi, 
*' The foUowing lines will be remembered bj many as having beta 
ehalked on the walls ibout the town ;-- 

* A Urge town, a proud people, 
A fiae church, and no eteepls. ' " 



[Cbnrebti uid E 

, I7e0-IT«0. 

will bo TCry fall, by the moat approTied Perform era^ tnd 
the celebrated WOMEN CHORUS SINGERS from 
Lao cash ire. 

N.B.— Then will be a BALL each Evening at the 

The gross rec^pts from these performances 

amounted nearly to X800, of which ;tlTO fell 

to the share of the Hospital, and an equal sum 

to the building fund of St. Paul's Chapel. 

In 1791, a beautiful stained glass window, 
designed by West, was placed over the Comraunion 
Tahle, It was executed by Francis Eginton, (of 
whom we shall have mow to say in our second 
notice of Soho,) and is divided into three coin- 
paitments, the central one representing the 
Conversion of Saint Paul, and those on the sides 
the Descent of the Holy Ghost, and the Death of 
Ananias, Nicholls, in his Aneedoie$ of the 
Literature of the Eighteenth Century^ remarks of 
thia window, ** that it would be unjust to Mr. 
Eginton, of Birmingham, not to add that the 
whole is a most brilliant ornament, and admirably 

If they be happy who have no history, then 
we may assume that the period covered by the 
present chapter must have been one of continued 
happiness and prosperity in the two Unitarian 
Societies of the town. Ko event of interest has 
to be chronicled concerjiing this denomination, 
until we i-each the year 17 SO, — the last of oiir 
present period, — when, "Mr. Hawkes declining 
the pastoral care " at th<5 New Meeting, " the 
congregation judiciously turned their thoughts 
towards the celebrated Doctor Priestley, F.E.S., 
one of the first philosophers of the age, whose 
merit seems obvious to every eye but his owil/'* 

Joseph Priestley ,^ — "a man no less distinguished 
by social and Christian virtues, than scientific and 
literary attainments," t — was the son of Jonas 
Priestley, a clothnlresser, living at Fie Id head, 
In the parish of Birstall, near Leeds ; and was 
born March 13, 1733. 

The birthplace of the great philosopher has 


t W. Butif^ BvA. 

shared the fate of his last home in Birmingham, 
having been pulled down some years ago. It was 
" a little house of three small rooms, built of stone 
and Blated with flags/' * Hia mother died when 
he was only seven years old, and he was taken 
charge of by an aunt, a Mrs. Keighly, a piotts 
woman, who, he tells us, " knew no other use of 
wealth, or of talents of any kind, than to do 
good ; '* and at her expense he received an 
ediication to fit him for the Christian ministry, | 
the efforts of his teachers being greatly 
aided by the young scholars intense love of j 

His aunt encouraged him in his fondness for ] 
books, and as her house was the resort of many 
dissenting ministers — chiefly, it would appear, of 
the lets orthodox type, albeit she herself was of 
the Calvinistic persuasion, — the young student 
was brought in contact with men of culture, | 
whose conversation doubtless exercised an in- 
fluence upon his own religious convictions, i 
As soon as his health would pennit, he was i 
sent to the Dissenting Academy at Daventry,] 
which was under the direction of Mr, (after- 1 
wards Dr.) Rush worth, successor to the emi- 
nently pious and learned Dr. Doddridge. He I 
found here that freedom of opinion in the! 
discussion of religious auhjtjcts which was mott 
congenial to him, and, while at the Academy, 
came to "embrace what is called the hetero- 
dox side of every question." His fii^t charge, 
after leaving Daventry, was at Keedham 
Market, in Surrey; and here the congregation 
soon began to express their diahke, both of I 
young pastor's stammering mode of utterance, and 
of the " uncertain sound " which he ** gavel 
forth" concerning the doctrine of the Divinity 
of Jesus Christy and they "foil off apace.** 
Finding himself unpopular and almost de 
by his congregation, and consequently reduced i 
worldly circumstances, he issued proposals 
leach classics and mathematics for half-a-guinea i 

*LeetBn oa ** Joteph PneiUer : bit LtCe end Chemioal Woilt/ 

lAQdBioU, 1760-178<».] 



quarter, and to board pupils for twelve giiiiieaa a 
year. Thifl project, however, was unsuccessful, 
atid he commenced a series of twelve lectures on 
** The use of the Globea," but the attendance did 
not even pay for the necessary globes. 

From Needhara he went, in 1758, to Nantwich, 
m Cheshire, and there again combined the duties 
ol pastor and schoolmaster He had now re- 
nounced all the doctrines of ** orthodoxy,'* and 
while at this place he published his Erst theo- 
logical work, on "The Scripture Doctrine of 
Remissioii^^* in which he endeavoured to refute the 
doctrine of the Atonement In 1761 he wm 
invited to Warrington, to succeed Dr. Aikin as 
tutor in the languages and belles httresy in the 
Diasenting Academy of that town ; and now his 
literary life began in earnest. In addition to 
teaching Latin, Greek, Hebrew, French, and 
Italian, he delivered courses of lectures on Oratory 
and Criticism, on Elocution, on Logic, on History 
end General PoHcy, and many other subjects. 
He became acquainted with Benjamin Franklin, 
too^ about this time, and formed a friendship 
which iniluenoed aU his future career, and gave that 
atimulus which was neceasaij to induce him to 
enter in le^ earnest on the study of natural 
philoflophy. At Franklin's suggestion he under- 
toolt to write his ** History and Present State of 
Electric Science," his friend having ako furniflhed 
hiiD with booka for the purpose. In 1765 the 
University of Edinburgh conferred upon him the 
honorary title of LLD. While at Warrington 
he married the daughter of a wealthy ironmaster 
of Wales, with whom he lived happily ; but as 
income from the chair of languages and 
•lettre^ was insu3icient for the maintenance 
of « family, he accepted an invitation to become 
paiior of the dissenting congregation worshipping 
ai Mill-hill Chapel, Leeds, and removed thither 
in 1767. He had now sufficient leisure to enable 
him to devote greater attention to experimental 
pluloBophyi and here he ** commenced that 
briUiant series of discoveriea by which other 
haada uid other brains than his accomplished 

the destructiun of one of the biggest stumbling 
blocks to human knowledge of which hiatory 
has any record,"^ 

In 1773 Lord Shelbume» desiring a librarian 
and literary companion, applied to Dr. Price for 
a^istance in obtaining a suitable person for the 
post, and the latter recommended Dr, Priestley, 
who was at once appointed at a salary of X250 
a year and a separate house. He travelled with 
Lord Shelburne on the continent, and made the 
acquaintance of the principal men of science in 
the French capital ; and when in England enjoyed 
sufficient leisure to enable him to continue his 
scientific researches. He remained with Lord 
Shelburne seyen years, and in 1780, for reasons 
into which it is unnecessary that we should 
inquire, he left his lordship's service ; and 
immediately afterwards received the in\dtation 
to which we have already referred, to become 
the pastor of the New Meeting, in Birmingham. 
Catherine Hutton, the daughter of our first 
historian, writing to a friend, December 25th, 
iu this year, says : ** The celebrated Dr. Priestley 
has taken up his residence among us for the sake 
of facOitating his pldlosophical experiments, and 
Mr. Hawkes, one of the preachers at the New 
Meeting, having resigned his place, it has been 
olTfired to the Dr., and it is generally believed 
ho will accept it If he do, you may expect to 
hear of my becoming a convert to his religion, 
for I am weary of Calvinistic monotony and 
nonsense, "t 

As our present period does not extend beyond 
the date of Dr. Priestley's arrival in the town, we 
must leave for a future chapter any reference to 
his life and labours in Bimiingham, and the events 
which followed his ministry at the New Meeting. 

The changes at the New Meeting were not the 
only events in the histor}^ of the Birmingham 
Nonconformists during the year 1780. In that 
year, the Baptists, finding their meeting-house in 

• FroftaaoT Thorpe. 

t Sb« had hitherto atttnd«d (with Kir Oitht r and mother) the 
Imdependent Meetinc Hooae 1» C«ir e Laae. 


Bcom, Qimkers," — otherwise tbo Society of Friends, 
— would appear to have been iinjiroved^ and 
p<irliap3 enlarged, during the Jatter part of the 
eighteeBth centtuyi and is described by HuttoD, 
in 1781, as "a large and convenient place, and 
notwithstanding the plainness of the profession, 
rather elegant.'' It was doubtless at the expense 
of one or more of the wealthier members of this 
oatimable society that BaskcrviHo printed the 

and described it as *^a barren, dry, imcomf oiiable 
place. Most of the seed," he writes, " which has 
been sown for so many yeaiS| the ' wild boafs ' 
have rooted up ; the fierta, uncleani brutish, 
bhisphemous antinomiaaK have uiterly duistroyed 
it And the mystic foxes have taken true pains 
to spoil what remained, with their new gospel '* • 
In 1760 he found here a society of little mors 
than fifty persons ; and in the next year, when he 

UM mA %lme%0£ Jolia WinUx, |L, IW. 

OitoelM ittd Seeti, ITOO-irw.] 



proacbed in the town, the room vms far too sisall 
for the congi-egation* In 1764 he pr^aebed again 
in the town, in the old !Moor-Street theatre, which 
the Methodist* had obtained, as we have previously 
rice, the mob gathered, and threw 
kt people going out 

The only events to be recorded, in the period 
imder notice, in the history of the Carr's Ijine 
Jleeting, have reference to its financial prosperity. 
In 1771 the interest of £800 was bequeathed to 
the society by the will of John England ; and in 
1779 Joseph Scott assigned ** certain oieBanagea 




Bat, as the time of which we now write passed 
i mk^ Ifao humble sect began to enjoy rest from per- 
aoHi and soon became a ilounshing society. 
WritiBg in 1768, Wedey remarks that the 
icimiUtA of 00 many years continuance, were 
** oow wholly suppressed by a resolute magistrate.'' 
Here he met ** with a venerable monument of 
•ittiquity, George Bridgins, in the one hundred 
•ad MTonth year of his age, still able to walk to 
p if a ehtDg, and retiuning his senses and under- 
iljaidiiig tolenUy well" 

and lands in and near Wolmer Lane, in 
Birniinghani,'' producing a rental of X40 18s., 
'* part of the said prumisea to be appropriate 
for the interment of Protestant dissenters; 
part of the profits to be applied to the use 
of a religious society in Carr's Lane, at the 
discitjtion of the trust, and the remainder for 
the institution of a school to teach the mother 

Altogether, as regards the less importont deno- 
minations of Bimiinghami this period cannot be 


OLD AND NEW BIRMINGHAM. [TheTHeimialXaBiciatatMa. 

said to have been one pf prosperity. The Roman 
Catholics were yet without a place of worship in 
the town, and had to journey two miles to the 
nearest chapel, that of Edgbaston. The Jews 
had a small synagogue in the Froggary, in which 
they still preserved " the faint semblance of the 
ancient worship ; " but " their whole apparatus " 
seemed to Button " no more than the drooping 
ensigns of poverty." Several of the newer sects 
— the disciples of Swedenborg, and the Countess 
of Huntingdon's Connection, for instance — were 
not yet represented in the town at all. But in 
the next period we shall see the various commu- 
nities of dissenters in great prosperity, growing 
and increasing on every hand. We shall find 

newer societies flourishing side by side with those 
previously established in the town ; but it will be 
our unpleasant duty to close that record of 
prosperity by a narrative of events in which those 
who ventured to differ in their religious opinions 
and form of church government from the Church 
of the State, were called upon to suffer persecu- 
tion and peril, as well as great temporal losses, at 
the hands of the ignorant and the lawless. 
Therefore, although we must dose this chapter 
without recording great prosperity among the 
churches of nonconformity, it is satisfactoiy to 
be able also to leave it for the present free from 
the stain which darkens the next period in the 
history of religion in Birmingham. 


First Period, from 1768 to 1799, 

The early Festivals- Service on behalf of the Hospital, 1781— Commencement of tlieTriennialTe8tival8-—"Goliah "—Handel CelebratioDS' 
Anonymous Donation of £600 to the Hospital— Poem by Freeth thereon— the Festival of 1787— Mr. Yates and the Festival 
Committee— Mrs. Billington— Repetition of the " Messiah "—The Festival of 1790— Madame Mara— Enlargement of the Hospital— A 
disastrous year— Postponement of the Festival— The Fe.stival of 1706— Poems on Mrs. Second, by Collins— Backles vemu Shoe-strings 
—The Festival of 1799— Receipts and profits of each meeting. 

The history of the Birmingham JMusical Festivals 
is divided hy Mr. Bunce into three periods, — the 
performances given during the last century ; those 
which took place in the period between the com- 
mencement of the present century and the opening 
of the Town Hall in 1834 ; and those which have 
been given since that event We cannot do better, 
therefore, than adopt the same division ; and shall 
anticipate, by a few years, the general history of 
the town, in our first chapter on "those great 
Musical Celebrations which have done so much to 
make the name of Birmingham famous throughout 
Europe, as the cultivator and promoter of the 
musical art in its highest developments.''^ 

The first of these celebrations took place in 
1768, and has been already noticed in these 

* J. T. Bonos : History of the Musical Festivals, p. «8. 

pages ;* it will be unnecessary, therefore, further 
to refer to it in the present chapter. Ten years 
afterwards, — in September 1778, — it was resolved 
to give another series of musical performances, 
for the joint benefit of the Hospital and St Paul's 
Chapel, and this also has already been recorded 
in our notice of the chapel, t 

The sum of £140 is frequently set down in 
lists of the Musical Festivals, as the net produce 
of a musical celebration in the year 1781 ; but 
strictly speaking, no musical performance took 
place in that year. On Monday, the 23rd of 
July, however, a sermon was preached at St 
Philip's, on behalf of the Hospital, by the Bishop 
of Chester, after which a collection was made, 
amounting to £128 6s. Id. ; and thia buhl (with, 

« Chap. zzL, p. 1S8. t Ouq^ nnriL, pi 171. 

I TMcDnlAl M niic&l FettlYak.] 



perhaps, soTeral donations immediately afterwards, 
BmoUTiting in all to about £liO) has usually been 
set down in the lists as the produce of a Festival, 
probably in order to connect the triennial festivals 
Tiitb that of 1778, 

But the triennial series did not properly com- 
mence until 1784, In the March of that year, 
the Hospital Board resolved ** That some Musical 
Performances be thought of, for the benefit of the 
Charity, to take pkce after the meeting of the 
Three Choirs in the Autumn.** During that year 
there were mus"cal gatherings at Salisbury and 
Liverpool, aa well as at Gloucester, and there was 
consequently some difficulty in selecting a suitable 
lime for the Birmingham meeting; but it was 
ultimately decided to hold it on the 22nd, 23rd 
and 24th of September, The steward of that year, 
Viscount Dudley and War<i, having offered to place 
nt Uie disposal of the comnuttee a new oratorio 
entitled ** Goliah," by Atterbury, it was decided 
that it should take the place of the usual Thursday 
evening concert ; and the composer generously 
deToted to the Hospital the profits arising from 
the sale of the work. 

Tlie famous Handel commemoration at West- 
minster Abbey, which had been commanded by the 
King, in the same year — the supposed centenary 
of HandeFs birth, — suggested to the Birmingham 
committee Uie idea of making their Festival of 
1784 a commemoration of the great master of 
liannony. The first day's [jerfonoance, at St 
Philip's, comprised the Occasional Overture, 
Pitfcell's To Deum and Jubil ^te, Handera 
Anthfikm, ** O come let us sing/* and hia Corona- 
tion Anthem. On Wednesday evening, at the 
Theatre, Novr Street, the concert included "the 
favourite pieces performed at the PantheoHi by 
commimd of his Majesty, in commemoration of 
Mr* Handel," On Tliuraday morning, at St 
pyiip'fl, the service consisted entirely of a 
selection from Htindel's works, being the same 

that performed at the Westminster Abbey 

ebration on the 3rd of June ; and included the 
Dettingen Te D«um^ the Overtures to ** Esther " 

and "Tamerlane," the Dead March in **Saul," 
several anthems, and the Double Chorus from 
"Israel in Egypt "^ — *^ The Lord shall reign." 
Thursday evening, as we have already said, was 
devoted to IMr. Atterbury's " Goliah," and on 
Friday morning the Handel commemoration was 
brought to a close with the performance of his 
di\dne masterpiece, "The Messiah." In the 
evening the Festival itself was brought to a 
conclusion with a miscellaneous concert at the 
tlieatre, "consisting of select pieces by the most 
capital performers." The principal vocalists at 
this Festival were the Misses Abrams and Master 
Bartleman ; and the chief instrumentalists were 
^lessrs. Wilson, Ashley, Gariboldi, and Clarke. 
The Imnd was supported by the large double 
drums usetl in the celebration at Westminster 
Abbey ; and both band and chonis are described 
aa having been very full Among the many 
distiagiiished visitors who honoured the Festival 
with their presence on this occasion, were Lord 
and Lady Plymouth, Lord and Lady Ferrers, 
Lady Windsor, Sir Robert and Lady Lawley, 
and Sir Edward Littleton, The gross amount 
produced by these performances was -£1,325, and 
the profits £703. 

Shortly after the Festival in this year, a " lady 
unknown " gave £500 to the funds of the 
Hospital ] upon wliich our local poet Freeth 
wrote the following lines : — 

**Noveiid>erl5th, 1784. 
**0u a Benefaction of Five Hundred Pounds being 
presented to the General Hospital, by a Lady unknown. 

** Of Russell, thongb much has been aaid, 

And the maidens the flowers httve atrewM^ 
To say, '* the cunuudgeoii b dead/' 

The epitajili — who can thitik rude ? 
With benevolence known to abound, 

The virtue must be that excels ; 
Wiiere no ostentation is fouud, 

The tsaence of chftrity dwells. F." 

From this time, with but two exceptions, the 
Musical Festivals were held trienniallv, and 
rapiiUy grew in importance. Greater intei^t 
was aroused among the clergy of the town, as 
w6U as among the nobility of the sttrroundiog 



[Die TKennUl IfaxlcAl FfstlrdiL 

neighbourhood. The Rev. Charles Curtis, rector 
of St. Martin's, the Eev. T, Young, of St. TauVs, 
and the Eev. J* Darwall, of St John*s, Deritcnd, 
were on the committee. At the next celebration, 
in 1787, the Earl of Aylesford was elected 
President, and the Earl of Pljnjouth, VUcount 
Dudley and Ward, and Sir George Shuckburgh, 
Bart., acted as stewards, A quarrel, however, 
between the committee and Mr. Yates, the 
manager of the Theatre, seemed likely to mar 
the prospects of the Festival. The latter, con- 
isideiing the remunoration offered him for the 
use of the theatre to be inadequate, announced 
a performance for the evening before the com- 
mencenient of the Festival, notwithstanding 
that the theatre was indispensably required by 
tho committee for a rehearsal on that evening. 
In vain the committee remenstrated, — the manager 
was determined, and probably would not have 
yielded, had they not threatened to take legal 
proceedings to close the theatre for the remainder 
of the season. This, however, biought liim to 
Ma sense?, and ho consented to forego the 
promised pprformanca But stvon afterwards 
another cause of offence would appear to have 
arisen, and again the manager announced his 
intention to play on the day required for rehearsal, 
Tuesday, August 2l8t. The committee met on 
Wednesday, the 16th, (less than one week from 
the commencement of the Festival,) and appointed 
a deputation of five persons to wait upon Mr, 
Yates, and endeavour to persuade him " to give 
up the idea tif playing." This he once more agreed 
to do, but again his obfitinate spirit obtidned the 
masteiy, and the deputation had scarcely rejoined 
their committee when a messenger arrived from 
Mr. Yates demanding tjompensation, and threat- 
ening that if not liberally dealt with he would 
play, not only on Tuesday, but on Friday also. 
Another meeting of the committee was convened 
for the next morning, and a letter sent to the 
vacillating manager demanding a final answer. 
According to the minutes of the committee the 
only reply vouchsafed by Mr# Yates was "a verbal 

mmituage " to the effect that he *' would do as lie 
pleased/^ Fpon this, the committee returned 
word that they would not use bis theatre at all, 
and that they were deterniined to prevent Ida 
theatrical performances immed iately , Accord ingl j 
they engaged Mr. Swann's amphitheatre, in liver 
Street, for the evening concerts ; and notice "W 
given to Mr. Yates's actors that they would 
prosecuted if they *' should attempt to speak < 
the stage hereafter under Mr, Yates's manag 
ment ; " several persons being hired ta att4?nd 
the theatre in order to have proofs against sucl 
as ventured on playing. The manager now saw 
that to continue opposition to the wishes of the 
committee would be to court ruin, and on Sunday,^ 
the 19tli, he sent a humble apology, offering th 
use of the theatre for the whole week. Th 
new aspect of affairs rendered it necessary that ft^ 
meeting of the committee should \n held at once, 
Sunday though it was, and, strange to say, 
the clerical members were present ; and it ws 
resolved to accept Mr. Yates's offer, but, in order ^ 
to punish him for his obstinacy, it was also 
determined that not one farthing should be paid 
to him for the use of either the theatre or the 
orchestra. And thus the dispute ended ; and not 
matters looked more promising as to the sue 
of the Festival, which was opened on WednesdajJ 
August 22nd, with a Monung Service at SI 
Philip's, in the course of which a selection i 
the works of Handel, Puroell, and Boyce, wa 
given. Miscellaneous Concerts at the Theafe 
occupied each evening ; on Thursday morning 
the majestic harmonies of " Israel in Egypt ' 
(called by Dr. Mocfarren ** Handera might 
masterpiece") wcro for the first time heard 
Birmingliam. On Friday Moniing the eve 
glorious '* Messiah ** was so enthusiasticaltj 
received, (partly owing to the *' eactraordi 
ability and the singular gracefulness of style I 
of the celebrated Mrs, liillington, who, accordi 
to a contemporary record, ** sang with the mo 
powerful sensibility, and failed not to axdij 
usual admiration,'') that a second perfonuanoe 

Ite tHc&iOal Mttiitiat FtttlnU ] 




that oratorio was demanded, and was given, on 
the Saturday^ to an over flowing audience. 

The total receipts of the Festival amounted to 
neatly £2000, the profit accruing to the Hospital 
beiog £d64. 

At the Festival of 1790, which was held Anguat 
25th, 2$th, and 27th, the only oratorio performed 
was the " Messiah/' the remainder of the music, 
both at the church and the theatre, being selected 
from the English and Italian composers, but 
chiefly from HandeL This year was signalized 
by the appearance of the celebrated Madame 
^fara^ — her appearance here being owing, says 
the historian of the Festivals, to Lord Dudley, 
(by whom she was much esteemed, and whose 
house at Himley she was visiting) who probably 
paid the expense of her engagement, as the com- 
mittee return his lordship a vote of thanks ** for 
his generous offer of the services of Madame 
Mara and her husband/* 

The otlier lady vocalists were Miss Mabon and 
the Iklisses Ahiams ; and among the iuBtrumental 
performers was Mr. Charles Knyvett, whose 
brother, — the bettor known William Knyvett — 
was in later years the Conductor of the Festivals, 
The proceeds amounted to £1,965 18s», and the 
profiU 1*958 14s. 8d. 

l>uriivg this year, the Hospital was enlarged b}' 
the addition of Uvo wings ; which added con- 
siderably to its completeness and convenience, as 
well OS to its external appearance, as represented 
in our engraving on page 175/' 

In 1793 the triennial sequence of the Festivals 
hiid once more to be brokea The state of trade, 
and the oppressive taxation, which formed the 
bufden of many of Poet Freeth's verses during 
theee yean, (as quoted in a previous chapter,) 
I w liaps, worse in 1793 than in any year of 

fti de, until 1800; and these, added to a 

load calamity, (the burning of the theatre, August 
7^ 1792.) which deprived the committee of the 
only suitable concert-room, together with the fact 
that " the public mmd was directed rather 
toward* t]ie stern aiarms of war, than attuned to 

the cultivation of the harmonic art/* rendered it 
highly nil desirable J as well as a most hazardous 
speculation, to attempt to hold the usual triennial 
Festival in tliat year. 

It was at first proposed to postpone the Festival 
for one year only, but it was ultimately decided 
to allow the three years to pass without the usual 
musical celebration, and to resume the series in 
1 796. The next meeting, therefore, was held in 
the August of that year, the Earl of Ayleaford 
acting as Steward. The "Messiah" was again 
the only oratorio performed, and the evening 
concerts are described as comprising ** the most 
favonrite airs, duets, trios, overtures, and concertos, 
by the first masters/* The principal vocalists 
were, Madame Mara, Mrs, Second, the Misses 
Fletcher, and Messrs. ^ield, Kelly, and Bartle- 
man. Among the instrumental performances 
were Hobert, John, and Charles Lindley, and F. 

The singing of Mrs, Second on this occasion 

so favourably impressed a local poet, Collins, — 

the well-known author of ** To-Morrow," of 

whom we shall have more to say in a future 

chapter, — that be wrote the following impromptu 

verses : 

**0n hearing tho youtig k beautiful Mrs. SECOND 
sing at the Musical Festival, in BirmiDghani, for the 
Benefit of the General Hospital there. 

*' When the great Cognoficenti, full ripo from the Schools, 
Liko Aristiirch, fluBird with dogmfitiod ruks ; 
Famous weathercock veering, found ways how to fix it, 
And managed the vane with a mecr Ips<' Dixit ; 
They of Mara pronounc'd, and dispute it who durst, 
That, of all vocal Prodigies, SHR was the First f 
Bat, as QowerB in Autumn will fade and decay, 
And leavca shrink and dry till they drop from the spray ; 
So the Vet'ran in fame, past her heyday and prime, 
MiiBt like time* beating Stephen,* be beaten by Tim©. 
And though not convinc'd while with thousands im- 

That ' The First may be Last, aod the Lo^ may b« 

Yet, if Fate seconds Fortune^ that doughty old dame, 
The next Idol to rear on the topstone of Fame ; 
Who with thrLlliug leniationa enraptures the throng, 

*Aii atliLtlon t*> th« ireU-knowti And oft-qaotcd «piUpli on a 

** fiteplwa tuitl Tii»« arc dqw U^ih eren, 
mipbm hm tittu, aad Tim* Imi StAplm.*' 


OLD AND NEW BIRMINGHAM. rni*Tri««iUiMa«i(*i F^tjt^. 

While the I«ovo8 and the Graces add chAfms to her 

Though Marn, 'mong warblers, the First ia now 

The Time will yet come when the First will l>e 


When the poet again heard Mrs, Second, 
her name, — which must have Bubjecied her to 
persecution from every wretched punster in the 
hrnd, — once more inspired liira to sing her 
praises in pimning verses ; 

" To Mrs. Second ; 
On hearing her sing a second time. 
*' Blest with those Powr's the First Applause to cIaiiii, 
How strangely paradoxical thy Name 1 
First of the vocal Tratu, by all confess'd, 
Yet Sbcond call'd, and so by all address'd ! 
A strange Misnomer, which provokes a Pun, 
Since thou, sweet "Warbler, Second art to none ! 
For who points oat, or would correct ihy Faults, 
But must correct himself, on Second Though ta! 
And yet, could 1, with llimic Force command 
A Voice, to echo thine at Second hand, 
With such a Gift of Imitiition blest, 
Of Songsters I should prove the Second best t 
But I to Fame shall never take that Fli^dit 
1 see, without the Gift of Second Si^ht. 
Yet, since thy Fiftsx-RATE Melody impartl 
A FiiLST-ttATR Charm, to captivate our Hearts, 
As all, from First to Last, throughout the Throng, 
Secoud with Plaudits thy cnclianting Song ; 
And with Om Voice assert, as they opine, 
*A Syren's Voice woidd Second be to Thine,* 
Second, in Name alone, shall Second be. 
While, in thy Praise, the World will Second Me ! " 

At this Festival, a most ingenious ruse was 
adopted by the numeroiua pickpockets who, 
according to tlie local newspapers, appear to have 
come down from London specially for the occasion. 
Taking advantage of the local feeling against the 
reaction in favour of shoe-strings versus buckles, 
at that period, the thieves bustled the locally 
unpopular wearers of shoe-strings, denouncing 
them as unpatriotic despisers of fine old English 
customs, and in the tumidt which ensued, plied 
their calling vigourou^ly, and managed to reap a 
good harvest. The proceeds of the Festival* 
amounted to £2,043 ISs,, and the profits ^897. 

'^ Tho prices of ftdmlMian ranged from h&lf-a-crowiiL to half-a- 
gainea ia the morning, and from thnse to six ihlllingt iu the 
evening ; and Uie ticket* to iL9 balls, (of wbloJi tbere were thre«} 
wore cbai^d five lUlUngB aiul ttUcp«Dc«. 

The last Festival of the eighteenth century was 
held in September, 1799. ** Great efforts had 
been made," says Mr. Bonce, ** to enlist th^ 
support of the principal residents in the countyJ 
as well as those in the town* The Earl of 
Warwick undertook the post of Director, and the | 
list of patrons was enlarged by the addition of 
the names of Lords Hertford, Dartmouth, Aylcs- 
ford, Dudley, WiUoughby de Broke, Craven J 
Middleton, Brooke, and others. The result was 
that the attendance of countiy gentlemen was j 
materially increased By strengthening the band j 
and choTiis, as well as by engaging a largo number j 
of principal performers, the Committee laid the] 
foundation of the eminence the Festivals have I 
since attained, and thus paved the way for that] 
new and greater epoch wliich commenced with th0 
advent of the present century/** The ** Messiah** 
was again the chief attraction, and the rest of 
the programme comprised selections from Handel, 
Corelli, Geminiani, and other composers. Madame . 
^lara occupied, for the third time, tlic position < 
principal vocalist, and was supported by 
Poole, Messrs. Plarrison, William Knyvett, and" 
Boi'tleman, Again the three famous LinJleys- 
wcre among the instrumentalists, together wit! 
Holmes, Cantclo, Erksine, the Leandeis, Crameril 
{leader of the band,) Harris, (organist,) and! 
others. As this was the most influential musical J 
gathering held in Birmingham, during the la 
century, so it appears also to have been th 
greatest hnancial success, the receipts bein 
£2,550, and the proHts £1,470. 

It will bo interesting to show at a glance, the 
growth of this noble institution during the lost . 
century, by a tabulated statement of the receipU] 
and profits of each meeting : — 




^ a. d. 

£ s. d. 



299 7 i 



170 Of 

• HlKtoTT of the Fwtit^U, pp, 76 C. 

i TItii amount repnuwiti only halt th« ptotU of the Fentlrsl, w 
they wers ftqaAUy dlvidfti botvssu the HuspltAl tud ibe -<tt PxuY* 
Cbspel BiitMlAg Fund. 

Tben«tHutoJ7ofBtoiiujg!uin] OLD AKD NEW BIEMDrGHAM, 




J KoFestiraL ServiceatSt. J 
1 Philip*a. July 23 ( 

1325 U 


1066 18 

No Festival 


128 6 

958 11 




1796. 2043 18 
1799. 2650 





Total to 1799 £11,464 16 £6,590 8 1 

With these facte and figures we close the first 
j>eHod of the history of Birmingham Festivals. 


Tlie ftnit uinoancmKnit— The fj}gravi»g»— Tlie price to be niacd to non-tobfleHben— Tlie tutlicir'a profits — Optmionft on the work — 
FnrUicr dd«yft— Tke ■utbor'a preface—Deacriptioa of the Tolniae— The ftecoad edttion-^Sfowth of the town— Uutton'i JaTeoile 

We have now to notice hne&y au event which 
ought to interest every inhabitant of Bimiingham 
— vii : the publication of the first history of the 
town — ** a history which notwithstanding its 
ebortconiings, its errors of omission and com- 
mission, is still a book to which we all tuna with 
delight^ and ought to speak of with respect/'* 
It was first announced as " by a Gentleman , 
an Inhabitant/* in the preliminary advertisement 
in the Gazette of ^larch 5th, 1781, wliich ran as 
follows : — 

PmpCiMls for pnbliahing by SubscriptioTi, In Odv Vol- 
ume, Oetovo, Price 7s. 6d,, The Hiatory of BinaiDgbsiu, 
From the earliest Account* dowu to the present time*. 
Wliich will be curiched l^itli 24 Copper- Plates, rtpresciit- 
ing the PubHc Buildings, a view and Plan oi the Town, 
kc, LCt by a Gcntleniiui^ an Inhabitant. 

llie next week's issue of the paper contained 
tlio Bfune announcement, but with the addition of 
the name of William Hutton as the author. On 
the 29th of Octobei*, anuther advertisement ap- 
[jettFedf announcing that in consequence of the 
deUy attending the pi-oduction of the plates, the 
principal of which ** ore engraving by that eminent 
Artini Mr. Walker of London,*' the work cannot 
be finiahed until the beginning of December j 
ag, aUOy that ** the great expense incurred by 
1 nuMbej- of Copper Plates given in the work, 
will anavoidiibly oblige the Author to advance 

the price to non-subscribers." The price to sub- 
scribers remained the same ; viz. : eeven shillings 
and sixpence; and the volume was to ccntaui 
** seventeen Copper Plates, some of which will be 
well worth Ss. 6d. each," 

This was Hutton's first literary work^ and ho 
had begun to collect materials for it as early as 
1775, but in that year, "a circumstance of a 
private nature occurring," led him to abandon his 
project In 1780, however, he once more turned 
his attention to the history of the town he loved 
so well ; and the first nine months of the year 
Tvere employed in this labour of love. ** Fearing 
luy ability,** he says, ** I wrote with dread. 
ILollason, the Printer, was pleased with it, and 
showed it to Dr. Withering, who pronounced it 
* the best topographical history he had ever seen.' 
I had for it seventy-live copies, the profit upon 
whicli amounted to al»out forty pounds. To 
venture into the world as an author, without 
having had a previous education, was a daring 
attempt. It was setting my knowledge against 
that of the Public : the balance was very uneven. 
This was afterwards considered the be&t book I 
ever wrote. I considered it in a leas favourable 

Under date 1781 in his autobiography, ho 
writes : 

'*! supped January 31st» with a larga company 



[Thft nnt History of BlnnlngliaaL 

at the Bull and Gate. Eollason, my printer, was 
there ; spoke highly of the History, and made no 
doubt but those printed upon large paper would, 
in twenty years, sell for a guinea." 

Although announced for publication in Decem- 
ber, and bearing the date of 1781 on its title page, 
it did not actually appear, according to Button's 
own statement in his autobiography, until March 
22, 1782. It was entitled, "An History of 
Birmingham, to the End of the Year 1780. By 

historian, which give birth to thought, and it is easy to 
clothe that thought in words. But in a preface, an author 
is oblij2^d to forge from the brain, where he is sometimes 
kuown to forfi;e without fire. In one, he only reduces a 
substance into form ; but iu the other, he must create that 

As I am not an author by profession, it is no wonder if 
I am unacquainted with the modes of authorship ; but I 
apprehend the usual method of conducting a pen is to 
polish up a sounding title-page, dignified with scraps of 
Latin, and then to hammer up a work to fit it, as nearly 
as genius, or want of genius, will allow. 

We next turn oyer a new leaf, and open upon a pom- 

^ ^a/r 

cc€^-^<L^ /^2^7-^ir' "<C3te>e. ct 


J cCe^ayw *^ Ccr>^<xJl. o^^9^i€ -/^lUL^ ;^b^ 

Facsimile of a letter ioritUn hy JVilliam HutUmj at the mje of seven., to Iris hrotJier. 


W. Hutton. Birmingham : Printed by and for 
Pearson and KoUason ; and sold by R Baldwin, 
Paternoster Row; B. White, Fleet Street ; J.Rob- 
son, New Bond Street ; S. Hayes, Oxford Street ; 
and J. and J. Fletcher, Oxford. MDCCLXXXI." 
The Preface is so characteristic of the author, 
in its quaint, witty apology for his unprofessional 
style, and its odd mixture of modesty and egotism, 
that notwithstanding its length, we cannot forbear 
quoting it entire : — 

A PREFACE rather induces a roan to speak of himself, 
which is deemed the worst subject upon which he can 
speak. In a history we become acquainted with things, 
but in a preface with the author, and, for a man to treat 
of himself, may be the most difficult task of the two ; for 
in Ustoiy, facts are pxodnoed ready to the hand of the 

pons Dedication, which answers many laudable purposes ; 
it becomes a pair of stilts, which advances an author 
something higher. 

As a horse-shoe, nailed upon the threshold of a cottage, 
prevents the influence of the witch, so a first-rate name, at 
the head of a Dedication is a total bar against the critic ; 
but his great name, Uke a great officer, sometimes unfor- 
tunately stands at the head of wretched troops. 

When an author is too heavy to swim of himself, it 
flterves as a pair of bladders, to prevent his sinking. 

It is farther productive qf a solid advantage, that of a 
present from the patron, more valuable than that from the 
bookseller, which prevents lus sinking under the pressure 
of famine. 

But, being wholly unknown to the great names of 
literary consequence, I shall not attempt a Dedication, 
therefore must lose the benefit of the stilt, the Uadcter, 
and the horse-shoe. 

Were I to enter upon a dedication, I ihoiild certainly 
address myself, " To the InhaMtanti of Hinningham ;" 

n*n»ttMoiTofBinuiii8b»i).| OLD ASD NEW BIRMIN'GHAM. 


for to them I not only owe much, bat aH^ and I think 
among that congregated mass, there la not one periion to 
whom I wiah UL I have tiie pleaanre of calling many of 
those inhabit&ota friends, and some of them share my 
warm affectiona equally with myself. Birmingham, like 
a oumpaasionate nurse, not only draws our persons, but 
our €Ateem, from the place of our nativity, and fixes it 
upon hcinelf : I might add, ^' 1 was hungr)*, and fibe fed 
e ; thirBty, and she gave mo drink ; a stranger, and she 

cobbled ft shoe ? or will it be a recommendation « that it 
issues forth in gilt binding ? The judicious world will 
not be deceived by the tinaelled purse, but will examine 
whether the contents are sterling. 

Will it augment the value of this history, or cover ita 
blunders, to say, that 1 have never seen Oxford 1 Tlrnt 
the thick fogs of penury prevented the sun of science 
from beaming upon the mind T That necessity obliged 
rae to lay down tho iMlil^dorr, bfiforo T was master of the 

- - > / ^v 

^ w— 




me In." I approached her with reluctance, because 
1 did net know her ; I shall leave her with reluctance, 
becsnse I do. 

Whether it ia perfectly consistent in an author, to solicit 
the Indulgence of the public, though it may stand first in 
hit wiahea, admits a doubt ; for, if his productions will 
not bear the light, it may be said, why does he publish ? 
hut, if tb»y will, there is no need to ask a favour ; the 
-■'^ one from liim. Will not a piece everlost- 
gj by its merit ? Shall we esteem it the higher 

aiUMi it wait written at the age of thirteen ? becuQiie it 
I the ofTort of a week ? delivered extempore t hatched 
wkik Uif aathor etood upon one leg ? or cobbled while he 


letters f And that, instead of handling systems of know* 
ledge, my hands at the early i)eriod of seven, became 
callous with labour. 

But, though a whole group of pretences will have no 
effect with the impartial eye, yet one reason pleads strongly 
in my favour — no such thing ever appeared as A History 
of Birmingham. It is remarkable, that one of the most 
singular places in the universe is without an historian : 
that she never manufactured an history of herself, who 
has manufactured almost every thing elae. If such a 
production had ever seen the light, mine most certainly 
would never have been written* A temporary bridge^ 
thenfore, may satisfy the impatient traveller, till m more 

skilful architect shall a^cofnmoilsite him viith a complete 
production of clrgance, of use, and of dumtion* 

Although works of genius ou^ht to come out of the 
mint dctibly refined, yet history admits of a munh greater 
latitude to the author. The hfst upon the subject, though 
dt'ft^ctive, may mrtt with regard. 

It has long been a complaint, that local history is much 
wanted. This will appear ohvioua, if we examine the 
places we know, with the histories that treat of them. 
Many an author has become n cripple, by historically 
travelling through all England, who might have made a 
tolf ruble figure had he staid at home. The subject is tc>o 
copious for one performance, or even tlic life of one man* 
The design of history is knowledge ^ but, if simply to t4?ll 
a tale be all the duty of an historian, he has no irksome 
task before him, for there is nothing more easy than to 
relate a fact, but, perhaps, nothing more difficult than to 
I'elate it well. 

Having, many years ago entertsined an idea of this 
undertaking, 1 made some trilling preparations, but, in 
1775> a circmQBt?nice of a private nature occurring, which 
engaged my attention for several years, I reliuquifihed the 
design, destroyed the materials, and meant to give up the 
thought for ever, but the intention revived in 1780, and 
the work follow ed» 

I may be accused of quitting the regular trammels of 
history, and wandering in the fields of dissertation ; but, 
although our habitation justly stands chief in our esteem^ 
in return for rest, content, and protection, does it follow 
that we should never stray Irom it ? If I happen td vier 
a moment from the poTar point of Birmingham, I shall 
certainly vibrate again to the centre. Every author has a 
manner peculiar to himself, nor can he well forsake it, I 
ahould be exceedingly hurt to omit a necessary part of 
intelligence, but more so to offend a reader. 

If grandeur should censure me for recording the men of 
mean life, let me ask, which ts preferable,— he who 
thunders at the anvil, or in the senate ? 

The man who earnestly wishes the significant letters 
¥.s(\, spliced to the end of his name, will despise the ques- 
tion ; but the philosopher will answer, "They arc e<iual.*' 

Lucrative views have no part in this production j I can- 
not solicit a kind people to grant what they have already 
granted ; but if another finds that pleasure in reading, 
which I have done in T^Titing, I am paid. 

As no history is extant, to inform ms of this famous 
nursery of the arts, perfection in mine muat not be ex- 
j»ected. Though I have eudeavoured to pursue the road 
to truth ; yet, having no light to guide, or hand to direct 
me, it is no wonder if I mistake it j but we do not con- 
demn so much as pity, the man for losing his way, who 
first travels an unbea^ten road, 

Birmingham J for want of the recording hand, may he 
said to live but on« generation ; the transactions of the 
last age die in this ; memory is the sole historian, which, 
being defective, I embalm the present generation, for the 
inspection of the future. 

It ia unu«ceasary to attempt a general character, for if 
the attentive reader is himself of Birmingham, he is 
*quilly ap^»rizcd of that character ; and, if a stranger, h« 

will find a variety of touches scattered through 
piece, which, taken in a collective view, form a picts 
of that generous people, who merit Ids esteem, and 
possess mine. 

ITie volume consisted of two hundred and. 
nmcty4wo pages (xil, 280), and is a very 
creditable example of local book-work. The 
iUustjntions (of which we have availed ourselves^ 
in ilhistrating the appearance of old Birmingham 
in this work), were engraved by R. Hancock, a 
very celebrated engraver at that period, fronij 
drawings by Pickering. No plates bearing thtii 
name of Walker (the engraver named in the 
advertisement) appear in the volume. The list 
of eubscribers contains the names of Dr. John 
Ash, Matthew Boulton, Francis Eginton, Br. 
rriestloy, Br. Withering, and many other well 
known local worthies ; also ^lark Noble, F.S.A., | 
the biographer of Oliver Cromwell, the celebrated 
Dr. Dianey, F.S. A-, Bichard Gough, the antiquary, ' 
and othei's. 

The second edition of Hutton*9 History was 
issued, in numbers, in the beginning of 1783. It 
was advertised in the Gazette, January 27th ; and I 
in that advertisement Hiitton gives a very graphic 
account of the rapid growth of the town, *' If/' j 
he says, ** on acquaintance with our Country is j 
necessary, an acquaintance with a principal Port I 
is peculiarly so. BiKMiNGaAM in many Points of 1 
View may be considered in that Light ; her Name 
m echoed tlirough the Commercial World ; thero 
is not a Village without her Manufactures : This 
Seat of Invention furnishes Ornament and Use. I 
Her astonishing Increase is beyond Example* 
The Traveller who visits her once in six Months, j 
supposes himself well acquainted with her ; bat J 
he may chance to find a Street of Housee in the 
Autunm, where he saw his horse at Grafs in thdl 
Spring, A pitiful Market Town, in an Inland! 
County, by pimj Industry, in a few years, aurpndsos ^ 
most of our Cities, Thus singularly ciix^umstanced, 
she naturally caUs for a History^ and invites a ^ 

In this edition appeared several additions,] 
among others the series of notices of surrQimdirgl 

PiibiieLiiwiiodEv.titM775.i:on] OLD AND NEW BIRMINGIIAM. 


places of interest, the notes for wbJch were 
gathered daring the summer of 1782 ; in walking 
excursions to places of antiquity within fifteen 
miles of his home. 

Seven editions of the work have appeared, in 
all, the latest having been issued in weekly 
nombera only twelve months ago. 

It may perhaps interest out readers to possess 
lacaimile of a quaint little letter, written by the 

ttorian to his brother John, — or, as be caHs 
him, on the saperscription, ** Jacky " — at the age 
of seven years. The original of this exceedingly 
interesting and amusing document is in the pos- 
deaaion of W. Franks-Beale, Esq., of Chester 
Koad, Erdington ; to whose kindness we are in- 
debted for permission to make the facsimile which 
appears on page 182. 

We cannot close this brief notice of the first 
history of our town without expressing surprise 
that, in honouriDg so many of her worthy 
citizens in enduring brass and marble and on 
canvas, Birmingham has utterly forgotten or 
ignored her first historian, who %vas also one of 
the most indefatigable of her citizens, prominent 
in every movement for the welfare of the town of 
his adoption ; eager to serve her in every public 
capacity : a judge in her court of conscience, a 
member of the commission for carrying out the 
provisions of the Improvement Act, a guardian 
of the poor,™and last, but not least, one of 
those who bravely suffered in the cause of civil 
and religious liberty in the local reign of terror 
in 1791 ; — ought not thiti man to hav^e a statue 
or other memorial in our midst I 



Jolm fiownnl't Tiiit to Ui* Birmingham Prtaon— PropoMl to bnlM a new Prison on the site of Cliriftt Chureb— Tlic oM ritmgttoii In 
BordAflley— ^nuntorfeit hfttf-peoce— Volunteera for the Aumrktan Wclt— UAUAon'* rian of BlrmlngliAUi— Pltiuorti tiud llmiiruorKt^Tlte 
"Cuial Frruxy " Agaiji— MaiLi to BirtninghAin—Comineni oration of tlio American Il*volutit>n— Tlumkjtgivlug for tlic King a recovery. 

Ws now take up once more the chronicle of local 

In the eightli decade of the eighteenth century 
a country gentleman who had happened to be 
appointed High Sheriff of the County of Bedford, 
wag led to inquire into the treatment of prisoners, 
and the candition 'of the prisons, in hia county. 
Oite of these latter was the famous "Den" in 
which was dreamed that glorious "Dream'* of 
the tinker of Elstow ; a damp, noisome place, 
whose foundations wei-e in the slimy bed of 
tha river Ouse. The wretched state of aflairs 
rercsled to the High Sheriff during his visitation 
throaghout the county stirred his generous spirit 
to iU Tery depths, and he resolved to undertake 
a eroBade against these filthy, disgusting dens, 
and against the cruel treatment to which the 
priaooen were too often subjected. In order to 

fit himself for the work he resolved to visit t!ie 
gaols throughout the whole of England ; and 
soon the name of John Howard, the prison 
philanthropist J was known and blessed by 
suffering prisoners all over the country. 

Tlie condition in which ho found the 
BiiTuingham prison will be best told in his 
own words : 

"The gaol for this large, populous towr, is 
called the Dungeon. The court is only about 
25 feet square. Keeper's House in front; and 
under it two cells down seven steps : the straw 
is on bedsteads. On one side of the couri two 
night-rooms for women, 8 feet by 5 feet 9 inches; 
and some rooms over them ; on the other side 
is the gaoler's stable, and one small day-room for 
men and women *, no window : above is a free 
ward for court of conscience debtors, who ara 


OLD AKD NEW BIRMINGHAii iPiibWc ure »d ETOt.. ittvitw 

cleared in forty days : this is a sizeable room, 
but has only one window 18 inches square. 
Over it is another room, or two. 

"In this small eourt, besides the litter from 
the stable, theire was a stagnant puddle near the 
sink, for the gaoler's ducks, (Gaoler's poultry is 
a veiy common nuisance ; but in so scanty a 
court it is intolerabla) The whole prison is very 
oflTensiTd. At some particular times here are 
great numbers confined. Once in the winter 
of 1775 there were above 150, who by the car© of 
the magistrates had a supply of proper food, 
broth, &c. 

** license for beer ; fees 29, No table. Neither 
clauses against spirituous liquors, nor Act for 
preserving the health of prisoners, are hung up. 

** 1774, Nov. 10. Debtors 7. Offenders 2. 
1776, Sep. 11. „ 7. „ 5. 

1779, Aug. 23. „ 0, „ 8."* 

The humane inquirer again visited the gaol 
in 1788, and gives the following additional 
particulars : 

** The court is now paved with broad stones, 
but dirty with fowls. There is only one day 
room for both sexes, over the door of which 
there is impudently painted. Universal Actjuiemi/.j 

** Neither the Act for preserving the health of 
prisoners, nor clauses against spirituous liquors, 
hung up. The gaoler has no salary, but has still 
a license for beer. 

"1788, Feb. 14.— Prisoners, 13.*' 

Of the Debtors' Prison he ipmtes : 

**No alteration. Clauses againat spirituous 
liquors not hung up. Court of conscience debtors 
for sumB under 208. are now discharged in 20 
days. As liquors are introduced by visitors, and 
through the windows, which are towards the 
street, most of these prisoners think their 
confinement little or no punishment. 

' John Howard : Skttt ^f ih* PrUona in En{iland and IPokf. 
173i). p. 2«», 

t " Thftra bttag do proper pljtce for tii« coiiflla«meiit of Id]* uid 
ditioluU appreDilcu, either here or in the coastj Bridewell ftt 
Wiirwlck. Uie puniahment for iiaAll ofTencoa ii often omitted tUI 
unhAppy yonthfl are ruined, Boae nuth young Greatiine I eaw In 
the countj gaoj : and lomfl of tli«a« Iwyi 1 again met with on 
U«rd the hulka." 

" 1788, Feb. 13.— Prisoners, 7."» 

Writing of this vile dungeon in 1 780, Hutton 
makes the following suggestion, which we are 
happy to say was not carried into practice, albeit 
the site is disfigured by as ugly an example of 
church arcliitecture as ever man designed. He 
says : 

" As a growing taste for public buildings has 
for some time appeared among us, we mighty Id 
the construction of a prison, unite elegance and 
use; and the west angle of that land betwean 
New Street and Mount Pleasant [Ann Street], 
might be suitable for the purpose j an airy spot 
in the junction of six streets. The piopriatorj 
of the land^ from his known attachment to 
Birmingham, would, I doubt not, be much | 
inclined to grant a favour." 

The prison philanthropist also visited the old | 
gaol of the parish of Aston, situated in High 
Street, Borde«ley. Here he found "Two damp 
dungeons down ten steps, and two rooms overj 
them. Court not secure. No water. Gaoler no I 
salary : he keeps an ale-house, "t There were, 
on the occasion of Howard's visit, five prisonere. | 
An old friend to whom we showed these notices i 
perfectly remembers this old dungeon, "It was/' 
he says, "an old-fashioned public-house with a I 
bulk-window, and, I think, bore the sign of the 
* Brown Lion.' Over the window, on thd front of 
the house, was fastened up a set of manacles, such 
as used to be put upon highwaymen, — ^there they | 
hung as a terror to evil-doera, 

"About the year 1830 the house was kept] 
by Jemima Brownell, and the prison^keeper 
W, D, Browneli The prison was known as 
*Brownell*8 Hole,' and there all pnsonen had 
to be taken for Aston, Ddritend, Bordealey, ^c. 

" The place was far from secure ; and I have 
heard of cases where, while the fun was fast and 
furious, and the ale was being drunk in the fore ' 
part of the house, prisoners have bsen helped 
out and smuggled across the fields which then 

p. ijy9. 


Public uto tad Bv«at>.m&iTW.) OLD AND ^EW BIRMINGHAM. 


extended from Bordealey over the Garrison 
Grounds and away to Saltley and Aaton," 

In this period of iiis interesting cliToniclo 
Dr. Langford quotes several paragraphs froiB the 
Gazette^ relating to the unusual pievalence of 
counterfeit half-p^ce* A letter appeared in that 
journal on the 2^th of January, 1776, from "An 

Xeighbourhood. If all honest Persons would ab- 
solutely refuse to take such as are obviously 
Counterfeits, the Growth of this Evil woiild be 
checked, and a few Informations (wliich I have 
B^ason to believe will soon be laid against 
both Vendors and Purchasers), would perhaps 
totally eradicate it»'* The injustice of this system 




.-^..- vfciri 



Enemy to Imposition,** directing attention to the 

I aoandalous practice of purchasing bad half-pence 

' *• at naar 20 per cent, cheaper than the Mint 

coin,** and compeUing those who require change 

for gold io take a considerable portion of the 

amount in copper, much of which was ao bad that 

i( could not be circulated elsewhere than in this 

[ toim of base coinage, ** It is too notorious,^' 

continues this correspondent, ** that Mr. T , 

in London, formerly an Inhabitant of this Town, 
haai sold considorable Quantities here and in the 

is very sensibly pointed out by the writer : " An 
industrious Nailor, for instance, who labours hard 
all the week for four or five Shillings, receives a 
part even of this small pittance in such base, un- 
lawful coin, which he takes with him into the 
country, and offers for the necessaries of life ; but 
there the tradesman refuses them : they them either 
remain on the poor man's hands, or are more 
injuriously employed at the ale-house, to the 
manifest destruction of his health, and (»erhaps 
tho ruiu of bis family/' These being, as he says, 


OLD AND NEW BIRMIKGHAM. [Public of* mki »vent«. mw7w 

no mere suppogitions^ but facts, which occurred 
eveiy day, ** the necessity of puttiDg a stop to 
this evil cannot but be obvious to every man ; " 
and it is not to be wondered at that, after so 
Incid a statement of the facts of the case, a public 
maeting of the principal inhabitants of the town 
was held three weeks later, in ** the Chamber 
over the Old Cross/' ** at which it was resolved to 
offer a Keward of Twenty Pounds, to such Per- 
sons whose Evidence shall convict any Offenders 
herein," To the announcement of this decision, 
in the Gazeitp^ was appended the statement that 
** the real Value of 2s. 6d. worth of Counterfeit 
Half pence is not more than 3d." Intending sub- 
scribers to the necessary fund for carrying out 
this much-needed crusade against so scandalous a 
practice were requested ** as soon as may be, to 
send their Names, with the Mention of what Sum 
tliey intend to subscnbe, either to some of the 
above said Officers of the Town, or to Pearson 
and RolJason, Printers, or M, Swinney," 

The contrast between the tradesmen of Birming- 
ham, wilfully encouraging the circulation of base 
coinage, of which half a crown's worth (if the 
word ** worth " can be used at all of such stuff) 
was in reality only worth threepence, — and 
Matthew Boulton, honestly producing at Soho, 
coinaga of the most genuine character, and at the 
same time imrivalled as to excellence of workman- 
ship,— must strike every reader of the history of 
our town, as it did our worthy poet Collins ; who 
wrote respecting the latter the following 

On seeing the inimitable Copper Coin of Mr, Bovlton's 

MirUf at Soho, 
WHEN Bacchus to Midas a patent bequeath'd 

(For 80 by tho Poeta we^i'e told,) 
For tuming, as long us on earth here he breathed, 

WhAtaoeYer he touched, into gold ; 

No license he gave to the Pbrygiaii Did Drone, 

On the bnllion a Stamp to beatow ; 
But the hoard a dead heap to the muckworm wa* grown, 

As no doit of it curiient would go. 

But had Bacchus to BoL'lton imparted the power. 

To 'ply the philosopher's stone ; 
That grant, though confiu'd to the lapse of nn hoor, 

Had honor*d hk Thyreua and Throne I 

For the bright rosy God had been blazon*d in gold. 

In STich rare combination and form, 
And his brethren above might with envy behold, 

And with jealous emotions grow warm* 

Each exclaiming^** Who darea thus our UkenesseM ip«^ 
" In such guise as may copies be TPckon'd, 

" And Gods thus epitomize, ou^ht not to 'scape, 
** But be deem'd a Prometheus the Si^coiid ! *' 

And yet if desert should be paid in due Coix ; 

Modem works, which the ancients surpass, 
The Gods, in full synod, should hb'raUy join, 

To upplaud, though on Copper or Bras^. 

And when, likb Celestials, with justice they aim, 

To diBcharge debts of honor below ;^ 
To give merit, but cttftRKNT and stkrhno, its claim, 

*' Twine a wreath for the Man of Soho." 

The inEuence of the disastrous war with Amerio 

during the eighth decade of the century, was fa 

in Birmingham as well as elsewhere. The pr 

gang — the system which wrought almost as mua 

suftcring in England as did the slave-timle 

other lands — was rife everywhere. On Augui 

25, 1777, the following paragraph in the lo 

Gazette must have caused conaiderahle ter 

and excitement in many an artizan*8 home 

Birmingham : 

The Press is now very warm here tind in the Neig 
bourhood. We hear a Gang is stationed at GlouoestK 
but they procure so few Afeu that the Expense of each j 
esteerntHi nt no h>s*s than Fifty Pounds a Man to t lOvc 

At the comniuncement of 1778 certain of th 
inhabitants of Birmingham met, at the CofT^jj 
llouse in the Cherry Orchard, Jan- 18th, to i 
into consideration the situation of public aCfaifl 
the emharrassment of the GoYemment conseque 
on the defeat of the British forces under Gone 
Burgoyne, and the necessity for a pubUc anl 
tion in the town in support of the Goverumen 
Upwards of XI 200, according to the Gazette 
Jan. 2lBt in that year, was "instantly and mo 
cheerfully subscribed ; ** and another meetid 
appointed to be held at the Hotel on 
following Monday afternoon, Jan. 3Ut^ th« 
amount raised by that date being over two 
thousand pounds. A county regiment of 
volunteers for the King's service was imme- 
diately raised } and the following announcemeut 

PuUle Life amd Eventi, I7r5>l 790.1 



was made respecting the movement in the Gazette 
of the foUowing week : 

BimtlQgluun, Jftnoaiy 26th.— We hear that m Express 
irrirwl at Warwiclc on Thursday List, from the Enrl of 
Warwitk, with In forma tiou, that hia Majesty highly 
approves of the Plan his LonUhip laid before the County 
of Warwick, oa the 14th Instant, for raking a Regiment 
for the Service of Govemjnejit, From another Corres- 
pondrnt we arc assured, that when hb Slajeaty signified 
Koyal Approbation of the Zeal and Affection mani- 
t)y the County of Warwick, in their Intentions of 
fduing a Regiment for the Public Service, ho was graciously 
pUaaed to inform Lord Warwick :— that the Men which 
the County may raise sliall be formed into a Regiment 
and agreeably to their own Request, be called The 
Warwioktthirc Regiment. The Choice to be left to the 
County of either the 14th or tSth Regiment, and that the 
men shall cither be entirely drafted, in order to leave the 
wholi* of one of those Regirneuta entirely vacant for the 
Warwickshire Levies, or that some Men ahall be sent 
tlown with the Officers of the Regiment they chuse, as 
ahall b« most agreeable to th« County. 

The next week further particulars were given : 

Fcbmary 2nd, 1?78. — We have the Pleasnre to inform 
our Readers that the Subscription set on Foot in this 
Place to raise Men for the support of Government will 
now Itpo prosecuted with the utmost Vigour, his Majesty 
having most graciotndy accepted the offer of a Regiment, 
which is to take the name of the Warwickshire Regiment, 
msiA the several companies raised here to t^ke ihe Name 
of the Birmingham Companies \ for which Purfiase the 
OfRoArs of the Sixth Regiment will b« ordered to march 
into the County to I'ccruit and receive the Men. And we 
Iteve Ih*' lurther Pleasure to aasurc our Readers, that a 
MettiDg of the County will soon be called by the Lord 
Liealenant, to promote this laudable meoAtire ; of course^ 
the Report so mdustrioudy propagated, that his Lordship 
diaa,p|ifored of it, was totally without foundation. 

Objection i^as taken by Lord Abingdon, in the 
Hoiifie of Lords, to this method of raising troops 
AS nni!onstitutional and illegal, but his motion to 
that eHect was rejected^ and "the work went 
oav** says Dr, Lan^ford, ** with increaaed enthu- 
l" On the 23rd of February the Gasetie 

iilained the following welcome statement : 

Wo hATe nnquestioiuble Authority to auert, that the 
Lord Lio'utenant of the County of Warwick has subscribed 
th« Sum of Five Humlred Pounds, toward the Warwick- 
Regiment ; and in a few Days Places will be 
oint«<l where Books will be lodged in this Town, for 
^tiling a Fund to enlist Men into the said Regiment, who 
aw to be formed into Compamea, and called the Birming- 

The volunteer movement was now most popular 
in the town; and "Poet Freeth" encouraged 
the work of recruiting with a song entitled 

The VOLUNTEER'S ROUSE, on the call for arming. 

Turn — Hark the echoing Horn. 
HARK to liberty's call^how it echoes around, 

To arms ye bold Britons with speed ; 
With coui-age unitedly cherish the sound, 

To EXEECisE quickly proceed : 
Your much injured kingdom calls loudly for aid, 

Surrounded by numerous foes ; 
When danger is near, be the Summous obey*d, 

A sin 'twere a moment to lose. 

With heart and with hand in the cause well unite, 

Britannia afiplauds the design ; 
We've long been oppressed, and to do ourselves rtght 

Together must freely combine : 
Tis liberty^s call — can o Britain refrain, 

His geueroua assistance to lend ; 
Our country commands, and our utmost well sti^in, 

So glorious a cause to defend. 

With en^noua distinction— of party away. 

And all be united and free ; 
Than who should seem foremost his zeal to display, 

Let no other strife ever be i 
The Sons of Hibebkia to danger awake, 

Redress by surh moans did insure ; 
Pursue the example, ye BitiTONs, and mak« 

Your liberties ever secure. 

CHORL'S— Turte, The Bdlo Isle March, 

Then quickly away, 

Manly zeal to display, 
Haste, haste, where the standard of Freedom apx)ears ; 

In defence of your land 

Join the free martial hand, 
Tis an honoui to rank with the brave Volunteers. 

The last paragraphs relating to this subject, in 
the Gazette^ toll how on Saturday, the Hth of 
]March, a party of the 6 th Kegiiucnt on Foot, 
into which the Warwickshire Levies are to be 
incorporated, arrived in Eirminghani ; and that, 
"when compleated that Corps is to be called 
the Warwickshire Kegimcnt, in Honoui of the 
Loyalty and Zeal manifested by the Cotinty in 
Support of Government, at this critical and 
important Junction of public Allairs." And 
that during the week ending April 25, " the 
Officers of the 6th Kegiment, into which the 
Warwickshire Levies are to be incorporated, at 
the Head of the Division of that Corps stationed 
here, made a public Procession through the 


OLD AKD ITEW BIRMIKGHAM. [PnWic Ltf« «d Et«iI.. irr»^i7«. 

Town, to encoTirage Yolunteazs to enlist. They 
were preceded by a blue Flag, a Band of martial 
Music, a large Piece of Roast Beef, several 
- Loaves of Bread, and a Barrel of Beer, and were 
attended by a great Concourse of Peopl«» In 
the Course of the Week, we are told, many 
promising young Fellows oftered themselves and 
were enlisted.** 

Prom records of wars, and of the gallant 
patriotism of our townswen, we must turn now 
to other and less honourable doings cf certain 
of the " Sons of Mara.** For, among the events 
of this period, it is our duty to chronicle the 
first known commission of the dreadful crime 
of murder in the town. Several recruiting 
parties of soldiers were in the town in [Novem- 
ber, 1780 ; and among them a young man 
named Thomaa Pitmore, a native of Cheshire, 
who, having recklessly squandered a small fortune 
of about £700, lia<l enlisted in the 2nJ regiment 
of foot, and was at Ihat time a corporal. There 
was also, belonging to the 36 th regiment, a young 
drummer, John Hammond, an American by birth. 
An acquaintance had sprung up between these 
two daring spirits, and, having procured a brace 
of pistols^ they endeavoured to while away the 
tedium of their enforced sojourn in the town by 
playing at highway robbery. During one of these 
moonlight expeditions on the Coleshill road, about 
four miiea out of town, they met tliree Birming- 
ham butcher?,— Scholc field, Ear wick, and Kose, 
— who were returning from Kugby Fair, and rode 
closely behind each other. One of the robbers 
attempted to seize the bridle of the first, but the 
horse, being young, started out of the road, and 
ran away. Hamjnond then attacked the second, 
Wilfred Barwick, crying, ** Stop your horse,'' and 
at the same time, " through the agitation of a 
timorous mind," says Hutton— diacharged a pistol 
at the unfortunate Barwick, who immediately fell 
dead. Both the robbers then retreated ; the 
younger, who had fired the fatal shot, hid in 
Ward End field, and was soon afterwards captured 
by a f oui'th butcher of the company, named Rann, 

and taken to Binmngham. The culprit at once 

impeached his elder companioii^ and both weie 

lo<%ed that night in the dungeon. They wero 

tried March 31, 1781 ; and, on the second of 

April, wexe executed and hung in chains at 

Washwood Heath. Effigies of the two men i 

still to bo seen on either end of Ward End Hou 

the old residence of William Hutton, 

The growth of the town since 1761— when 

Bradford's Plan was published — ^^had been ao rapid 

and extensive that it became desirable to provide 

a new map. The only modem one in exiaten^ 

knew no buildings, save the house of John" 

Baskerville, west of ** Swinford Street" and 

*'Bewdley Street" It knew not "Powdise 

Bow," exoept as the road to Stourbridge and 

Bewdley. Where, at the period referred to in the 

present chapter, the grimy, heavily-laden barge 

yielded up ita freight of " black diamonds," 

known only on Samuel Bradford's Plan as th 

** Old Brickiln Close." It was therefore nece 

that a new map should be prepared with all sp 

The projectors of that much needed publicatio 

seem, however, while desirous of presenting 

correct map, unwilling to incur the trouble 

expense of a new survey. Hence the foUowin 

curious advertisement \- — 

''August 31, 1770.— Any Person well acqawntftd will 
the Additional new Buildings erected in thia Town mn 
the year 1761, and capable of insertiiig them into the Pii 
of Birmingham, are ddsirod to send their Terms 
in a Letter directed to T, J. to the Printer of this P»p 
where may be seen a Specimen of Fort of the Pku air 

We cannot teD whether this proposal to ame 

Bradford's Plan really emanated from the put 

lishers of the next plan of the town which mad 

its appearance, but certainly " The Plan of 

miugham, survey'd by Thos. Hanson, 1778," 

every appearance of having been taken, in part i 

least, from its predecessor. It was " Publishe 

according to Act of Parliament by P©arst»n and 

Kollason," in the above year, and mensui^ 

43m. by 31 in. As the changee in the appear* 

ance and extent of the town, and in the names 

of the 8tr#et5, as marked on this old map^ are 

PtaiiUrtitetii«BTeiitf,i77Mmi OLD AKD NEW BIRMINGHAM. 


nuroi^ri>up, iv Tirk-f dencription may not be nn* 
interesting. If the reader will refer for a few 
moments to the far^imile of Bradford X lie will Imj 
the bett^^rftble to mnrk the poiiits of difference. 

B*iginning with the New Hall estate, we notice 
tluit the town has now thoroughly surrounded tlie 
hou06 itself, and atreets are cut across the land 

Paradise Street) paf^Bes thron^'h an area now 
thickly covered with buildings. On the pleasant 
close which, in 1751, ekiii^d that thoroughfare, 
03 well as "Meredith's Bowling Green/' (how 
our ancestors enjoyed the healtliful sport of 
bowling — there were bowling-greens everywhere I) 
there is now quite a new settlement From the 



H'l i ^ - 











is every direction. Great Charlea Street crosses 
about twenty or thirty yards in front of the 
house ; and parallel with it run other and shorter 
•tr^ts; Tiz,, Bread Street, [Little] Charles Street, 
Edmund Street, (called on Bradford's Plan Harlow 
Strtiet^) tind Lionel Street Between Great Charloa 
SlDoet and Bread Street, (on the site of the 
{ite«iit New Market Street,) is an open square 
eidled tlie " New Hiill Market" Cme^reve Sited 
ta BOW marked where the " C<>nygree-9tile-close " 
tam»Aj ato<kd« '^Paradiae Kow'* (the present 

Charles Street and " Harlow Street " of the old 
map, down to Smallbrook Street, there is a broad 
fringe of new buildings and streets ; Hill Street 
and SuflTolk Street are now both made and built 
upon, along their entire length, as well as the 
several short streets l>"ing between the two, to 
wit, Swallow Street, Navigation Street, (the 
" canal frenzy *■ has to answer for that name,) and 
Princes Street, now called Cross Street There 
are now *VNew Hinkleys" and "Old Hinkleys;** 
and the road leading out from Smallbrook Street 


OLD AND KEW BIEMLNGHAM, iPttwic uf« »i«i Rreni^ mMToa 

to Bromsgrovo and Worcester Ijoars the nanaea of 
Exetor Eow and Holltiway Head** Closo by tbe 
latter thomughfare the old wind-mill (which 
most of our readers doubtless reni ember), 
Appears on the map for llio first time. An en- 
graving of this old landmark, from a drawing 
in the possession of the publishers, appears on 
page 187. 

In the south-eastern corner of the Plan, 
we notice that a portion of Bradford Street 
is formed, and partly budt upon. It com- 
moncea at the hanks of the IJca, and runs 
fjulward from the town, in tbe dii-^etion of 
Camp IlilL 

Coming to the centre of tbe town, we notice 
with regret that Kew Street and Temple Street 
have lost their pleasant rows of trees. As we 
have already said, " Bewdley Street" and 
** Swinfoni Street " are now no more ; the former 
has taken the nume of ** Ann Street » or Mount 
Pleasjiut,'' and the httlt^r is mt^rged into Xew 
Street. The names of "High Street" and the 
* Bull King " now appear on the map lor the 
first time, and Walmer Lane has now the name 
of " Lancaster Street " appended The two new 
Kpi^::upal Cluipels appear, St, Mary's, homided by 
Catherine Street, (WhittaU Street,) St. Mary's 
Ivow, Loveday Street^ and Weaman Kow ; and 
St. Paurs, out in the fields, away from the 
town, but bearing evidence in the outlined 
streets that it is not destined long to remain in 

On the right liand eide of the plan are tlm 
engravings of Si Martin's and St Philip's, exactly 
as in Bradford's, but the adornments on the left 

♦ Hntton'i explanntioti of lliis ntunt in u follows .— 

" Wliort any of tbcsc roadi (that proceed from BimiingbAtii] leAd 
up an emUienre, \licj were worn by the long practice of ageJi Into 
hollo ways, iiorae of t]i<?ra twttlvf or fourU'cn ytrds below the gor- 
face of the baoka, with which Uic^y were once evctt^ uid eo haitow 
M to admit only of one Tias»enger. 

•• Though modern Industry, luiiisted by v»rfotu tumplke neU, 
hMS wiflenetl \hr iipjiier pnrt«, aud filled tip tht lower, yet they wc« 
mU risible in the days of our fathent, and ore even tmceiible In 
oun. . . , 

♦' Owe of tlieac atibt^rranean paj^ageji, in part filled up, will con- 
▼ey Ita nom# ki posterity m tlmt of a etre«t eallcd Nolhwau Hwd.'* 
•--Iliiilory »r DirniliiKhAiu, afstth ttt^ ]ijiu Sl—S. 

materially differ from those of the older plan. The 
title is surrounded by emblems of manufstctures 
and commerce, — machinery, shipping, merchan- 
dise, etc The upper half of the left horder is 
occupied with a description of the town simUar 
to that which we have previously quoted froii 
J^»rac1 ford's ; the lower part contains views of thg 
chapels of St. Mary, St. Paul, St BartholomewJ 
and 8t John the Baptist, Deritend, the Work^ 
liouse, *the Hospital, the Blue Coat School, the 
Hotel, (Temple Row,) the Xcw Meeting, 



*' j\fr Greenes House,** The latler will bo temeni*! 
bered by most of our ruadeis as the Old Inla 
Ke venue Office, which was demolished, with i 
Post Office, in 1874* In the small engraving on 
Hanson's Plan, which we copy here, it is repn 
sen ted as having two small wings, or outof!ice8^ | 
each connected with the main building by a loTrJ 
wall. A plea,«ant garden appears to have su 
rounded this desirable residence, rendering 
almost equal to a country house, although in th 
middle of a busy manufacturing town. A pot 
tion of the house is visible in the old print of 1 
Theatre Koyal, of which an engraving is given on 
page 123. 

In 1782 a pi-oject was set on foot for making a 
second canal, ** from the collieries of Wednesbu 
to the lower part of the Town of Birmingham.' 
The growing profits of the older undcrt-aliiii^ 
and the greatly increased value of the shn 
(which had risen, Hutton tells us, from £140 I 
£400,) induced the projectors to take up the nen 
scheme for establishing a rival company, in 
hope of making an equally profitahhs specuhitio 

pabiicLUte.i»d Evenly iTTfl-iTfoi OLD AND NEW BIRMINGHAM. 


Accordingly, a meeting was called, at the Swan 
Iwi, for the 8tK of January 1782, of thoso 
"Gentlemen and Tradesmen of the Town of 
Birmingham and its Environs, who are desirous 
of encouraging the Scheme now in Agitation " 
for the purpose above stated^ " where thi> Plan of 
a late and improved survey will be produced for 
their approbation." On the 4th of February the 
GaseiU announced that "A Petition was pre- 

lited on Monday last for Leave to bring in a 
to make and maintain a Navigable Shaft or 
Canal from Wedneshury to Birmingham, and 
from thence to join the Coventry Canal at 
Fazeley ; ** and further that " since the sub- 
on for carrying the same into execution 
ed, sums to a very large amount have 
been offered." " The new company," says 
Hutton, ** urged * the necessity of another canal, 
lest the old should not perform the hiisincss of 
the town ; tliat twenty per cent, are unreasonable 
returns; that they could afford coals under the 
present price ; that the south country teams 
would procure a readier supply from Digbeth, 
than from the present wharf, and not passing 
tiirough the streets, would be prevented from 
injuring the pavement ; and that the goods from 
the Trent would come to their wharf by a run of 
ighteen miles nearer than the other.'" 

** The old company," he continues^ — " idledged 
* that they ventured their property iii an uncertain 
pursuit, which, had it not succeeded, would have 

aed many individuals; therefore the present 

as were only a recompense for former hazard ; 
thai this property was expended upon the faith 
of Parliament, who were obb'ged in honour to 
protect it, otherwise no man would risk his 
fortune upon a public undertaking ; for should 
allow a second canal, why not a third; 

lich would become a wanton destruction of 
light) without benefit ; that although the profit 
of the original subscribers might seem large, those 
are but few; many have bought at 
tui price, which barely pays cimimon 
tntermt, «nd this \s all their s therefore a 

reduction would be barbarous on one side, and 
sensibly felt on the other j and, ns the present 
canal amply supplies the town and country, it 
would be ridiculous to cut away good land to 
make another, which would ruin both." * 

The battle would appear to have been waged 
fiercely on both sides. " Both parties," continues 
our witty historian, ** beat up for volunteers in 
the town, to strengthen their forces ; from words 
of acrimony, they came to those of violence ; then 
the powerful batteries of hand bills and nevv^s- 
papers were opened ; every town within fifty 
miles, int<>rested on either side, was moved to 
petition, and both prepared for a grand attack, 
confident of victor}% . . . Each party possessed 
that activity of spirit for wldi-h IJirminghum is 
famous, and seemed to divide between them the 
legislative strength of the nation ; every corner 
of the two houses was ransacked for a vote ; the 
throne was the only power unsolicited. Perhnps 
at the reading, when both parties luul mar- 
shalled their forces, their was the fiiUost House 
of Commons ever remembeied on a privato 
biU." t 

Taking into consideration the fact tlmt the 
existing company had been fii*st in the field, and 
had adventured their capital in a new and some- 
what hazardous speculation, the House ** gave 
them the option to perform this Herculean labour," 
and this they accepted. ** Thes," concludes 
Hutton, ** the new proprietors, by losing, will 
save X50,000, and the old, by winning, become 

In 1791, a new canal project was started; a 
meetirtg being held in February, to consider the 
desimbility of constructing a Canal from Bir- 
mingham to Worcester. It was considered, as 
pointed out by a correspondent in the GaztHe^ 
that this underlaking ** would give the Town 
almost every advantage of a Sea-Port, and pour 
into it the Produce of all Countries, at the easiest 
and cheapest Kate ; aud at the same Time take 

t lb. jin. |tl*Hi- 



IFttbUc Uh itid EtTftiU^ irTA-lTW. 

off ittf Manufactured Produce by the readiest and 
cheapest Conveyance," The bill received tiie 
sanction of both Houses of Parliament during 
lie session of 1791; it would tippear however, 
^from a Bong priutetl in Froeth^a Political Songsi^.tf 
entitled " The Bishops turned Navigators," that 
it met with considerable opposition from the 
?piscopal bench, in the House of Peers. Several 
lines will be recognised as having appeared in one 
of the old ballad-writer*8 invitation verses : 

NAVIGATION'S n lottery frequently lind, 
And some it makes eheaiiul and some it makws sad ; 
Stourport and IIamctos rejoicing have Wen, 
Whilst others elsewhere have been deeply took In ; 
Canalh pay so well^ caii it wonder excite, 
Why some to get freah ones so fondly nnite P 
For why, tell me why ! should a lew [u ivate elves 
Engross the good iltings of the world to tUeuiselres ? 

That PiT-coAL*s a blessing will not be denyM, 

For ever with as may that bleasiiig abide, 

Dut whilst we h«v© plenty, and plenty to ttpftre. 

Is it right that our neighbours should not Imvi' n share If* 

But think with what strange apprehensions it tills, 

The owners of lands and the owners of mi 11 a 1 

Whose anger was raised to a very }iigh pitch| 

At what many said would have b&en a Dby DiTcn. 

Delays on the Severn for commerce make bad, 
There should, and there must be a rt'giilar trade, 
But if Vm not gR'atly deet^ived in my fthn^ 
Thfe Marquis of Staffonliilnrc ]»layetl a sly game ; 
Spec'tatars might well with ainnzciafDr he tilled. 
When heaps of lawn sleeves in the House they beheld ; 
The scene was alarming, for all of us know, 
The lumber troop always with ministry go» 

A contest so great on a mere private hill, 

With wonder must many undoubtedly fill j 

A dozen Rionx Rrv'rexob ohjet't to the plan, 

And strong Naviqatoil'* conimenic to a man ; 

Providing a war very soon should take place, 

Our moniR'h I hoi^e will consider the case, 

Think, think Gracious GEonoE of the liiSHors I pray, 

One half keep at home — let the rest go to Sea. 

Lanhaff's learned prelate, as public prints tell. 
In chyraies and nautics but few can f xrcl, 
Instead of the Mitue— of many the je>t, 
Let the Axchor or Compass appear for his Crest ; 
But think not the Cloth I would wLsh to disgrace, 
Kot one should have less than a CoMMonouR'tf place, 
And why not, to figure in KErrEL'i* next mike, 
The Primatb of York a Vice-Admiral make. 

• One of the principal objections urged agiiln^t the projeet was 
that by giring Increased fecllitica for the coarejnuire of eotil to 
WortMter aad ths district, the supply would speedily be exhausted* 

Int'reat the bill through the lower Honse bearm. 

And intVest 'tis said threw it out of the Peers ; 

Our hopes tho' once Imffied again shall revive, 

A fig for the calls, keep the spirit aUve ; 

House, rouse ! ye Committee Mes every one, 

Fear not in the end but the work will be done. 

And if yon com plea tly would manage affairs, 

Take care that tho Brsilop« are fumiahed with Shahkb. 

We have extended the history of inland navi- 
gation in this neighbourhood somewhat bayond'^ 
tho period covered by the present chapter j and 
must now return to tho yea? 1785, in which a 
change was made in the mode of conveying tho J 
mails to Birmingham, which indicates the growi 
importance of the town. Previous to 1784 the 
maOs of the whole country had been conveyed hy 
post bags on horse back, at an average mtCij 
including etoppagos, of from thrtso to four miJis 
an hour ; but in that year one of the greatoAt 
mtonus ever made in the Post Office wtxs effectcil 
by the introiluction of the plan of Jolm Palmer, 
— the nuinager of the theatres of Biistol and Bath 
and an intimate friend of our local poet Collins, 
— by which these important despatches wer 
conveyed by stage-coaches, which were bencefor 
designated mait'Coachcs. ^Ir. Palmer, in hil 
scheme submitted to Mr. Pitt in 1783, describe 
the then existing system as follows , " The Postj 
at present, instead of being the swiftest, ia aliuo 
the slowest conveyance in the country ; au(| 
though, from the great improvement in our road^ 
other carriers have proportionably mended iheii 
speed, the post is as slow as even It is like 
very unsafe, as the frequent robberies of 
testify ; and to avoid a loss of this nature peopl 
generally cut bank bills or bills at sight in twfl 
and send the bills by different posts. The 
are generally entrusted to some idle boy, withoti 
character, on a worn-out hack, and who, so far 
from being able to defend himself or escape fivn 
a robber, ia much more likely to be in li^ague wit] 
him," And the observant manager had f tjrthertnon 
noticed that, when tradesmen of the city of Bat^ 
wiabed to have a letter conveyed with speed 
safety, they wore in the habit of wrapping it i 
brown paper, as a parcel, and semllng it by the 

i^iic Life and Bvittrti.iTr»-imj OLD AND NEW BIRMIKGHAM. 


ch, although at greater expens** thftti by 

But the new mode was not adopted for 

I conveying the Birmingham mails until August, 

17S5. The Oazeite of July 4tbj announced the 

proposed reform in the following paragraph : 

W# h^»r iKat the new regulations for conveying more 
fixpeditioaily the mmU will begin the Utter end of this 

hifl friend Palmer's project fnr the conveyance of 
the mails, in the fuHowing verses : 


IT was ever the Case, ere Desert cou'd take Pkce, 

That Envy threw Rubs in its Way ; 
Yet the Day-light we prize, tho' we know that week Eyei 

Feel pain at bright Fhccbus's Hay. 


i[M 'k^ 


Taken itoien tarly in tki NintfUtiJh i^ntu*Tf. 

ht or beginiiiiig of n«it, and that mail camJige« are 

fMptnng to oenrey tlie mails from Loudon through 
Oxford, 5irmtnghain« Wolrorhampton] Shrewsbury, and 
along the new ro*4 tlirougb Oswestr^', LlaDgoUeu, Cor- 
wen, and Llaurw^t, to Holyhead ; which road, by 
a?ul4iiig the d^hy and danger of Con way Feiry, and 
b«ic^ Ihe shortcait and beat, will enable the prnprittora 
of ' 9 to deliver the niuil at Ilol^phead with 

grrn ution and more c<artainty, than can be done 

' OB MMj otiiar road^ 

Jolm (or Thomas) CoDina— fur the conjectures 
10 to our Unest lociil poet's christian name are by 
fm HMtfuifl nnanimotia — celebrated the adoption of 

When Noah in Ark, with Ida Sons did embark^ 

Prediluvians, uplifted and pompous, 
Deem'd his nautical Scheme a fantastical Droun, 

And pronounc'd the Projector n&n carnpoa. 

And Columbus the bold, when the World wo call old, 

He first quitted in Search of the new ; 
In the wide ewellbg Ocean, found far leal Commotion, 

Thau 'midst hia own murmuring Crew. 

HUtorians well know, that some Ages ago, 
The Horse drew the Plough with his Tail ; 

And the Grain, there's no Doubt, from the Chaff was irod 
Long before we made use of a Flail, 


OLD AND NEW BtRMra^GHAM. (Pawie Ltft tnd Bvtnu, irT».i7«o, 

Time's Parta to divide, and to shew Kow they glid^i 

Hen invented the Sand-Glass and Dial ; 
And WM thought nothing moj^cou'd he done on that Scow, 

Till a Clock'Mttker veDtnr*d the Trial 

liS'Tio strikes out new Lights, fell Derision excites, 

If not Persecution to boot ; 
Gflllileo so found, when he prov'd the World round^ 

And thftt Men walked upright^ UNDfin-rooT. 

•Twas lit first thought a Bull, but a Pontir» thick Scull, 

AYlio wou'd suffer no Bulla but his own, 
Hurl'd Vatican Thunder at Heretic B hinder, 

And prov'd an old Wife, like Pofte Joau. 

Thus the Coijclavc of Fools, Tony Todd and his Tools, 

Th?ir Anathemas de^l at Mail Conclies ; 
And like Zealots of Yore, trump tip Lies by the Score, 

Which their Proselytes swallow like Loaches, 

Here a Wheel lost a Spoke, there an Axle Tree broke, 

At fi third Place the PiTch suapt iu two ; 
One Man lost an eye, a poor Girl smash 'd her Thigh, 

And the rest were all be^t black and blue. 

Then the Horses one night, with hard Driving took fright, 

And ran down a Hill, Helter Skelter, 
Wln?ii thr Posscngicrs all, were thrown out great and small, 

And left in Duck's Puddle to welter. 

Yet, wond'roua to tell, after all that hefel, 

Old Time, that developing Smoaker, 
Has proved all thojie Flams are but Hngbears and Bams, 

Like Wilding 8 ** Cat, Pistol, and oker."^ 

And the Lies Envy broaches, to run down Mnil Coaches, 
(Though fraught with Miachouce and Dijuaster) 

Like the Gnase on each Axis, their speed not relaxes, 
But only just niaJLea tham run faster. 

For Life to secure, and Life's Means to ensure, 

In ft Land where Freebooter's abound, 
Must engage ev'ry Mind, to its Interest not blind, 

And the Plan with Success must be crown'd. 

Nay, each hungry Cur, that now makes such ft Stir, 

To bis Yelping wou'd soon put a Stop, 
And be one of the Host^ that Mail Coaches now tonst. 

If be bad hut a Share of the Sop. 

Then Palmer, whoso Brain can alone guide the Eain, 

Like Apollo, thy Course daily run ; 
And never let Fear slack thy noble Career, 

Till the Dog Star eclipses the Sun J 

The first maila were conveyed to Btnningham 
by the new mode on the 23rd of August, 1785. 

In the beginning of Kovember, 1788, we find 
our townsmen preparing to celebrate, with every 

KMi Foot«'« Faroe of Thib Ltar. 

token of rejoicing, the centenary of the glorion 
revolution of 1688. The principal inhabiUu 
were to dine together at the Hotel \ and illumina- 
tions, bonfires, and other popular manifestatioc 
of joy were intended. But on the day prenoa 
to the celebration a notice was issued by 
officers of the town, in which they ** respectf u 
inform the Public that no Illuminations, BonfiitMi^ 
or Fireworks will take place on the Celebration of 
the above Bays, [the Revolution Jubilee 
Gunpowder Plot,] on Tuesday and WednesdaJ 
Next, [Nov. 4th and 5th,] and hereby give Notid 
that proper People will be stationed in diSeren 
Parts of the Town to apprehend all Persons lettia 
oiT Serpents, Rockets, *fec. ; and such as are foun 
offending wiU be prosecuted to the utmost Eigon 
of the Law," 

Notwithstanding, however, tlie "proper peopW 
and the threat-ened rigorous prosecutions, 
read in the very interesting account of tU 
celRbration, quoted by Dr, Langford, from th 
Gazeite^ that ** At night the principd streets 
the town were illuminated ; and that " the 
parencie^ and ornamental lights at the Hotel wcr^ 
very beautiful ; over the door was a transpai 
Portrait of King William ; ** in the windows 
either side were large transparencies inscribed 
the Immortal Memory of the Great and Glorioil 
King William III. ; " also that on the Wednesday 
night there were fireworks, and that " there waa 
not the least rioting in the streets, or accident of 
any consequence " therefrom. The bells rang out 
a merry peal; the assembly at the Hotel was 
'* more numerous and respectable than any eT 
known in the town/' and the majority of 
guests were appropriately '^dressed in bin 
coats, with orange capes, having on beaut 
emblematical buttons,** and wore idso eleg 
fiilver medals, suspended by orange ribbons ; 
large quantity of medals of the same defii^ 
but in inferior metal, were distributed among th 
populace; an appropriate ode, set to music 
Mr. Clark, was performed at the dinner ; and 1 
entire celebration appears to have beoQ 




► in a spirited manner, and to baTO passed sue- 
fully and harmoniou&l}'. 
lie next year saw the town rejoicing over the 
happy recovery of the King from that Ulness 
ich threatened to incapacitate him from takbig 
fiirtiier part in tlie afitiirs of the realm. 
' a proposal had been made to transfer the 
crecirtJve Government to the Prince of "Wales, 
and Birmingham had loyally expressed her ad- 
herence to the Regf^nt elect ; but by the end of 
February more hopeful news came of the state of 
XiDg*d health, and as soon as certain Intel- 
ttoe arrived as to his Majesty 'a Message to that 
effect having been delivered to the Houses of Tar- 
Iwment, *' tlie inhabitants were assiduously occu- 
pied in furnishing their windows with lights/' the 
bellrf in all the churches were rung," and with the 
evening a more general and brilliant illumination 
commenced than was ever known in this place," 
The streets were thronged, (notwithstanding the 
inclemency of the weather,) brilliant trans- 
ijncies and emblematical devices app<5ar6d on 
Bt of tiie pubHc buildings. A huge honliro, at 
which three tone of coals were consumed, was 
kindled in front of the Navigation Ofiice, fire- 
works were displayed in various parts of 
the town, and at Soho the manufactory, house, 
mud grounds of Mr. Eoulton w ere *^ completely 

and grandly illuminated with many thousand 
lamps of various colours, most judiciously dis- 

Again, on the appointed Day of public Thanks- 
giving for the King^s recovery, a similar display 
took place, and in addition to the usual illumi- 
nations, bonfires, and fireworks, a townsman who 
had thus early boen smitten with the balloon 
mania, "gratified the populace by letting off, 
from St. Patd*s Square, a Mongolticr balloon of 
50 feet in circumference, which from the favour- 
able direction of the wind glided over the town 
in a very majestic and pleasing manner/' Our 
second local laureate, CJollins, celebrated the 
event in a pootii ; services were held in nearly all 
the places of woi-ship ; a special form of prayer 
and psalms composed for the occasion, were read 
and sung at the Jews' synagogue ; and everybody, 
both rich and poor, joined in expressing, each in 
hia own particular way, the universal joy that 
the good and kindhearted " Farmer George " was 
once more enabled to take the reigns of Govern- 
ment, and to preside over a happy and, on the 
whole, contented people. 

And with this public expression of loyalty and 
gratitude wo closw the present i-ecord of the life 
and doings of our townsmen during the ninth 
decade of the eighteenth century. 



i ftlilBT^-SitiaU fi«giiu«iug»— Aims and OVijccU of tb« founden— Increased Subacripiion— Hkioiy of Uie LIbtvy, 

** Books,** eays ililton, — in his noble defence of 
the liberty of the press, — •* are not absolutdy dead 
thingSy but do contain a potency of life in them, 
to Iki iM active as that soul was whose progeny 
they are ; nay^ they do presei-vo, as in a vial, the 
ptirebt efficacy and t^xtrat^tion of that living in* 
Ullact that bred them. ... A good book," he 

continues, " is the precious life-blood of a master- 
spirit, embalmed and treiisured up on purpose to 
a life beyond life." And if, as John Kuskin has 
said, for the individual to be without books of 
his own be ** the abyss of penury," how much 
more so must it ho, for the commiuiity to bo 
without t^puUic library ^ and we art not surprised 



[Th» 8Innine;lu.iii Litewjr. 

to find that our townsmen, as early as the year 
1779, resolved that thej would no longer endure 
su€h "penury/* In that year the Bimiinghara 
Lihrary — after^vards nnd still known as "the 
Old Library "—was founded. It is unfortunately 
impossible, at Uie present time, to discover the 
toatnee of the founders of this excellent iBBtitu- 
tion, as its early records are now lost. The first 
home of the library was in Snow Hill, where 
it was open mily one hour tfOcA mortiing, for the 
delivery and return of books. Hiitton tells us 
simply that ** it originated in 1779, and, like 
many important things, from exceedingly minute 
beginnings*" that "each member paid a guinea 
entrance, and six shillings per annum ;** and that 
" their number was so small, that they covdd 
scarcely liave quarrelled had they been inclined, 
and their whole stock might have been hiid in a 
handkerchief.*' The present librarian, ^Ir, Scai-se, 
has very courteously informed us that the entire 
collection of books was origiriBlIy kept in a small 
old-fashioned "corner-cupboard," which is still 
in existence. 

The only notice of the new institution in the 
Gazetiey diuring 1780, is an announcement of the 
general meetiug of the Subscribers to be held 
at the Hotel, June 13tb; and this is dgned 
"J, L., Steward," i.e.^ John Lee, jud., "steward" 
or librarian. 

The first statement as to the library and the aims 
and objects of its proprietors, so far as can be dis 
covered, appeared in the Gazette of June 1 Ith, 1781, 
in an announcement of the general meeting : — 

" Btrmincbam LinnAHY.— a general meetiug of the 
subBcrilierB to this institution is appointed to be held on 
Wednesday, the ISth of June, at the Castle Inn, in Hi|^h 
Street, at three o'clock in the afternoon, whtin ercry 
suV>8criber is desired to attend, to consider of some laws 
relative to the government of the society. This Library 
is formed upon tlie plan of one that was first es-ttiblished 
at Liverpool, and whidi has been adopted at Manchester^ 
Leeds, and many other considerable towns in this kingiiom. 
The books are never to be sold or distributed ; and, from 
the nature of the institution, the Library must increase 
till it contains aJl the most valuable publications in the 
EngUah language ; and, from the easy terma of sdmisaion 
(ns!,, one guinea for entrance, and six shillings annually), 
\ wHl be a treaaare of knowledge both to the present and 

SQCceedtng apes. As all books are bought by a commit 
of persons annunlly cliosen by a mnjority of the jsuLicnb 
and every vote is by ballot, this inAtilution can nr 
answer the purpose of nny pnrty, dvil or religiouM, 
on the contrary^ may be expected to ptomoie a ipirit \ 
liberality and friendship among all classics of men withq 
distinction^ The library in this town in at pre*kent in I 
very infancy, but it already contain* a valuable eoUecti 
of books, catalogncs of which may always be seen 
Messrs. Pearson and Hollason's \ and when the Libn 
Room (which is already engaged in the njost ceiitnd ] 
of the town) shall be opened for the reception cf it, and 
the constant accommodation of all the bubacnbers, the 
advantages arising from the institution will be gr«atj|_ 

On December 12th the annual meeting 
held at the Castle Inn, at which officers were 
be elected for the ensuing year. Each person ' 
** desired to bring a list of 20 namtis, conaisting i 
those whom ho would recommend to be o! 
committee for the year ensuing, as they are to 1 
chosen by ballot ; and as it will take some tin 
to settle this list, the members are requested I 
attend and deliver theni^ as early as possible ; 
no list can be received after half-past thp 
o'clock." It was also announced that ** in co 
sequence of the additional expense in which i 
society will be involved, it will bo proper 
propose some addition to the annual sub6eri| 
tion ; " but that ** the subscribers may rely on 
propOBition never exceeding the sum of 10&, 
which is the limit prescribed by those who 
fonned the society, and for which they pie 
themselves/' It ^is hoped, however, '* that, no 
withstanding the additional expense, the annual 
subscription of 7s. 6d. or 8a. may suffice." 

The annual subscription was ultimately fixed 
at eight shillings ; and " a Librarian entered the 
ser\^ico at 10/. per Annum." 

The next announcement tells us the whereabouto_ 
of the new library premiacs : — 

Januar>^ 20, 1782,— BiBMlNOllAM LlBIULET,— Tlw I 
acriber* to the Birmingham Library ai» limby 1 
that the Library Koom, adjgining to 11es»ra. PtiaraonV 
and RoUaaon tt House, in the S^an Vard« iiill Ite op 
on Thursday Next : and that the librarian will atti 
there to deliver the Books, &c., every Day (Su 
excepted) from Two o*CJock in tho Altemoon to Tt^ 
Within thoae Hours any Subscriber may see thr 1 
readj and make Extracts, kt. at hie PleaMxn. A Firt i 



(Th« BlmilBgliftiB Ubmrr. 

or more ; but ho is to observe not to keep them 
longer than the Tune allowed for On© only, 
Tinder the Penalty of forfeiting for each Volimme 

We next find the suhscribers considering **a 
proposal of some of the Members to foim them- 
Belvee into a separate Society, for the Ptuchafla of 
Books of Science, and especially Foreign Publica- 
tions of that Class, to be under the same Kegula- 
tiona with those of the present Library, and to be. 
accessible to all the Subscribers to it, but not 
to be taken out of the Library except by the 
new Subscribers." It is added that ** if this pro- 
posal be approved, a Number of Persona intend 
to make a Deposit of a considerable Collection of 
scientifical Books, in order to begin the Eatablish. 
ment to more Advantage," 

On the 1 4tli of June we learn, from an Rnnounce- 
ment in the Gazette, that 

The Subacrib^ra to tbo BtxmiDghain Library having, 
at a Special Aleeting, held thifl Day, given LeaTe to 
any of their Body to form themselvea into a f^porato 
Society for the Purchase of Books of Scii'ace, and espe- 
cially foreign Publications of that Class, and having 
granted them tho L'ac of their Room and their Libra- 
rian ; a Number of them have thought proper to 
propoao an Annual Subscription of One Guinea for that 
Purpose : And Notice if» hereby given, that a Lbt of the 
new Suhscribera h in the Library Room, and will continno 
there, in order to receive the Kames of more Subacribera 
till Monday the 21st Instant, when all the new SuWribera 
are desired to meet in the Library Room, at five o'Clcjck 
in the Evening, to make proper Regulations for the Ex- 
ecution of their Plan, 

By 1786 the library had grown from ** near 
500 ^' to 1,600 volumes, and the annual subscrip- 
tion had more than kept pace with the growth of 
the library, being now a gxiinea and a half. 

The librarian in 1 78C, was, as appears from the 
advertisement announcing the increased rate of 
subscription, "William Home, wlio, "in conse- 
quence of an Advance in Salary/* now " attends 
to the Btieiiiess of* the Library an additional 
Hour in the Day, viz. : from Ten to Eleven 
o'clock in the morning." The growth of the 
library make* it necessary for thfi committee to 
remind subscriberB, at the bame time, **th«t tli© 

room which they rent at present will very 
be too Bmall to answer the purpose for which ; 
wajB taken." 

In 1787 there arose a fierce and bitter dispiit 
aa to the non-admission of works on theologies 
controversy. A motion for their expulsion beiu 
made by Mr. Charles Cooke, Dr. Priestley replie 
in a pamphlet, the profits of which were to be give 
to the funds of the Library. On the 3rd of Sep 
tember another pamphlet was announced to be 
issued the next day, "by a Subsciiber," wh 
expresses his apprehension lest the appcawince < 
opposition sunong the subscribers should doter I 
outsiders from availing themselves of the man^ 
advantages offered by that excellent instltutioB 
He is persua»ied that ** thi^joint efforts of 
Priestley and himself" will contribute to promoti 
peace and to dispel the bitter strife in which thejj 
are engaged. Following the doctor's examplq 
"he also intends applying whatever gain majj 
arise from the sale of this Address, to the Fund 
of the Library." 

The peaceable endeavours of the two pamph 
leteere, were, hoqrever, unsuccessful, and a month 
later a pamphlet appeared on the other sid^ 
written by an outsider, who was in no way con 
ceimed in the discussion, and who proposed 
devote the profits of his venomous little public 
tion — ^ which has been styled "one of the mo 
uncharitable and uncliristian tracts ever written 1 
— *' to the Funds of the Sunday Schools." 
object of the author in joining in tlie controvor 
was obviously that of bespattering Dr. Priestle 
with his virulent abuse. The readisr will no 
care to know more of this pamphlet thaa its titi 
which was as follows : — 

A Letter to Dr. Joseph Priestley, occaaioaed by 
lata Addrass to the Subscribers to the Bin 

By Somebody, M.S. 

*' Thon com'st in such a queationable shape that I wHl 
apeak to thee/* — Shakejpeare, 

**Gloriam, honorcm, imperium. konub, rGA'Aurs, fcqu* 
aibi axoptaut ; aed ilie, vera vii tuUlur, HfC quia BOVM 
art^i deaunt, Doua atqua FALiAOtit oemtandit **— AsflM. 

Mr Cooke's TOasons for his proposal were 
given in the OasmUe of Daeember 10th, as 
foUowB : — 

December 10, 1787. 


Gektlemek, — My Motion for h Lsw to exclude Books 
reUling merely to controversial Divimty, baring occft- 
Aioned some Ptrty Animosity, imd the Motire b«ii]g greatly 
ml«aiiidef3tood» I beg Leare, before the General Meeting, 
in asst^rv the Subscribers the Motion was brought forward 
solely Trith a tIcw to eitingtiish, and in future proven t, 
uneasincfi* occasioned by the late Mode of introducing 
them. Dr. Priestley, in his Address to the Subscribers 
iqion my Motion, declnrcB that he had always opjiosed 
their Admisaion ; and I have often in conrersation heard 
several of the Dr/a Friends mention their own ideas of the 
Impropriety of their Introduction ; and it was from one 
of these Gentlemen 1 learned these Words, ** after the 
present moment, mere Lumber." I have heard Books 
relating to the two learned Professions objected to in the 
Committe*, merely because they were professional, I mean 
Law and Physic, but never heard the same objection to 
thosA of Theology. The principal end of all public 
libraries should be, to collect a Fund of Literature, both 
entertainiDg and UiTeful, not only for the advantage of 
present, but future generations, but more esipecially for 
the jmrohase of the books of Histor}% Science and Pro- 
fenion, whose Prices arc in general too high for the 
Majority of Private parse*, as the Philosophical Transac- 
tlimv iforeri's Dictionary, Grose's Antiquities, &c., kc. 
Tbe proposal which I wished to bring forward of a 
•(vpArate Subscription, on the Plan of the Scientifici for 
the Purttuiee of Books appertaining to the three aiUter 
Profesaions, sets aside every possible idea of my Fears or 
Alarms relating to controversy. I have been told re- 
p^tolly, and with Warmth and Acrimony, that my 
Motion Wis originally intended as a personal attack on 
Dr. Priesll*?y» and that the Subscribers who are of the 
eatablbhail Church were angry because the Dissenters in 
general were better read, and conseqnently more liberal 
thau them. I am sure that the Doctor will Laugh at the 
former idea, and as for tlie Utter, I think every one should 
Lamgh at it. The Society are under many and great 
Obligations to th« learned Doctor ; it waa him who 
altered itsj original Plan, and put it on a more extensive 
Kmle ; he amended and enlargiiicd the Laws, and has paid 
a great Attention to its Welt'rtre and growing Interests ; 
it is now becoming a very valuable and oseful Library, 
and promised fair to be a most capital one. Considering 
tha future Consequence this Institution is Hkcly to bo of 
to thia Neighbourhood, it wore to be wished that any 
Motle likely to create ilisunderstanding amongst its 
Memben was exploded ; it was therefore my Motion was 
put up, afid not only with the Approbation^ but at the 
Es<iur.^t nf many Respectable Su>»»cribers, with the pros- 
pect of preventing in future the Bickerings occasioned by 
the Intrtsduction of these controversial Books, and at the 
MUM tUBi to ea^abliah Unanimity and Concord in the 

Society, and to explode the idea of Party influenee, — I am 
Geiitlemen, Your most obedient and most humble Servant, 

Chahles Cooke. 
Hagley Eoad, Birmingham, Dec, 1787. 

This motion waa carried, and controversial 
divinity was excluded from the Library, At the 
same meeting (held December 12th, 1787) it was 
resolYed unanimously **that those Subscribers 
who live One Mile from the Town be allowed 
one Day extra for the return of a Book, and those 
-who live at the distance of Two 5/Iiles be allowed 
two days ex^." It was also resolved that the 
hours of the librarian's attendance be from three 
o*clock to six in the afternoon between the first 
of September and the first of ^lay, and from 
throe to eight between the first of May and the 
first of September, Again there arose difficulties 
as to the library accommodation ; the latter room 
was all too small, and although the munificent 
sum of jC25 per annum had been oflTered for a 
suitable room, with a promise to expend £50 in 
improvements, the subscribers were stDl unable to 
find a FDom which would meet their requirements. 
It was the day of Tontines ; almost every under- 
taking was carried out on the Tontine principle ; 
and the friends of the Library decided upon 
using this popular method of raising sufficient 
money to erect a suitable building for themselves, 
aa will be seen from the following announce- 
ment : — 

Birmingham LiBaAiiT. — A Subscription is open in 
the Library for two hundred nameSt to raise one thousand 
guineas for the purpose of building a new and complete 
Library, to be let to the Society at £25. per annum, on a 
Tontine pUu. Those gentlemen who wish to subscribe 
for one or more shares, not exceeding ten, are desired to 
aeud thuir names to the Librarian immediately. Any 
person having a freehold spot of land in a centrical 
situation to dispose of, is requested to send his terms, in 
writing, to Mr, Home, at the Library : — And any 
builder wishing to undertake the building, may send 
their plan and estimate to the same. The land must be 
at least two hondred, and from that to three hundred 
square yards.*' 

Meanwhile it was still necessary to obtain a 

larger room pending the erection of the tontine 

building, (the Library having now increased to 

3^400 volumes) ; and teraponiry premises wore 

I Hi 1790 J 



tlie town), which had previously been known as 
" Corbett's Bowling Green," adjoining tho pleasant 
Cherry-Orchard, and Wonting "a certain PaBsage 
theit>, called Corbett's Alloy," now better known 
aa Union Street. The Tontine-Deed is dated 
March 25th, 1798, and sets forth the several par- 
ticulars vm to the exact position of the land, 
which was obtained on a lease from the celebrated 
Dr. Withering, whose house adjoined the said 
proper^ on the north-west side thereof. The 
lease was granted for 120 years, datinpj from June 
24, 170t, at a ground-rent of £11 15r. per 
annum- The older portion of the present library 
building was erected thereon, at a cost of £906, 
which sum was advanced by the several parties 
included in the tontine trust, (comprising,' 181 
peraoDBy yarying in ages from five months to 
twenty-one years), equally in proportion to the 
number of shares of the value of X5 each. The 
im>prietoi8 of the Birmingham Library' were to 
|jay an annual rent of £22 12s. 6d., subject in 
gUgdition to the ground-rent of XI 1 ISs. The 

building was completed in 1797, being erected of 
stone, from designs by ilr. WiUiani Hollins ; the 
exterior consisted of the present covered portico, 
supported by two pairs of coupled Doric columns, 
surmounted by an Ionic story of the same form, 
with one window only on either side of the 
entmnce in each story. This latter particular will 
enable the reader, from the engraving given on 
page 191, to form an idea of the size of the 
original building, aa well as of the later exten- 
sion. Over the entrance is the following inscrip- 
tion, from the pen of the celebrated Dr. Samuel 

''Ad mercatamm bonamm artium profisctas, et tibi tt 
omnibus ditesces,*' 

which has been thus translated : — 

** Resorting to the Alart of the Sciences, you wDl grow 
rich both for yourself and others/' 

And thug, the library being firmly established 
in a permanent building suited to the refiuire- 
Hi cuts of its members, its history cornea to an cud, 
for the present. 



atl-Brltl^et oTCT the R<m— OM hoiiM* to Dlgbctb—8t Martin 'aCb arch— Tlio Dull Rlig— Th« Old Crow— WUUwn Huttoa— AaibtM— 
JC«w HaU — ** UockXvf Abbey" iiod lt» founder— Tbo Creftccnt— Ptiot-path to Lho Piv«*Wftyg. 

TitoaiB who have withVxemplary patience followed 
the course of our story thus far, may perhaps be 
lictsirous of learning something of the appearance 
of the town after the provisions of the several 
ijnpit>Yement acts, which we have duly chronicled, 
had boen carried into effect, as well as the other 
private improvements of which we have taken 
nolo in the foregoing chapters. 

Ill surveying the town once more, therefore, 
to not^ the improvements of the last twenty 
yeaiS| we will suppose our readers to start with 
OS from Camp Hill, as in the seventeenth 

As we pass the end of Coventry Eoad, we 
enter the domain of brick and timber. The old 
gaol of the parish of Aston firet attracts our 
notice, with its grim-looking irons hanging outaid© 
and the old-fashioned, bulk-windowed alehouse 
in front, kept by the gaoler. The half -timbered 
houses are now becoming fewer^ but there are 
still a few remaining to give pictureaquenesa to 
the old "street called Dirtey," The chapel of 
St. John the Baptist, with its square heavy tower, 
does not harmonise ill with the quaint surround- 
ings, now that the newness of its red brick lias 
been toned down by the amoke ; and the entrance 

to the towB of Binnmgham may still be said to 
be through a ** pretty strete." 

Beaoking the bonks of the Eea, in Deritend, 
wo cofmo to the first noticeable improvement, in 
the erection of a new bridge over that stream* 
Id early times, before the water was dammed up 
to supply Cooper's Mill, which was about four 
hundred yards below the present bridge, Button 
i^ of opinion that the stream must have been so 
shallow as to admit of its being crossed, between 
Deritend and Digbeth, with the aid of a few 
stepping stones. But wlien it became necessary 
to dam up the water, several ** paltry bridgea " 
were erected in succession, chiefly of timber, to 
connect the two streets ; the cost of making and 
maintaining the said bridges being provided for 
out of the property bequeathed for such good 
works by that worthy townsman, William Lencli, 
the pious founder of ** the Gild called 'Lench's 
Trust'" These old bridges were barred, and 
kept chained and locked, and had an attendant 
bar-keeper. In the seventeenth century, these 
Hide wooden bridges — which were so easily washed 
away by the winter floods — gave place to one 
of stone, as shown in Westley'a Prospect, 
with recesses in which foot passengers might 
take refuge during the passage of large and 
heavy vehicles over the bridge. This was 
removed in 1750, and another erected by 
Henry Bradford and John Collins, (oveiseers 
of the highway,) consisting of iive arches ; 
" but the homely style, the steep ascent, and 
the circumscribed width, prevented encomium/** 
Tins was also demolislied in 1789, to make 
way for the present bridge, the first stone of 
which was laid by Mr. James Yates, August 
5th, 1789. This was not, however, completed 
until 1813, the Act under wliich it was erected 
having expired before the work was accomplished, 
and the trustees being opposed by the inhabitants 
and frustrated in their attempt to obtain an 
extension of the term. The works, therefore, 
remained incomplete until a new Act was 

obtained^r in ISIS^ enabling the tnietoea ta 
complete the improTement& 

As we past along Digbeth we notice thai the 

spirit of improvement has influenced private 
inhabitants, as well as public commiasioners, and 
that many of the old gabled, half-timbered house* j 
have given place to newer buildings ; the mu 
of the anvil has departed from the street 
^'manie smithes," along with their quaint old 
shops, half open to the street, of which only onq 
yet remains (1700); where dwells a hale and 
hearty old blacksmith, John Hoberts by name^] 
whose health the smoke of the town and tbe lack 
of an "improved dwelling" has failed to i^juroJ 
and who lived to the good old age of a bundredl 
and three years.* Of this old smithy we arei 
enabled to give an illustration from a small pen 
and ink drawing by W. Hamper, on page 105. f 

Another of the quaint and picturesque old 
houses which has escaped the ravages of time and 
of modern improvements, is that now (I878)j 
known as *'The Old Bigbeth Tripe House." 

At 8t Martin's Church considerable alteration 
have been made since our last notice of it Id 
1781 the spire was found to be in a decayed and 
exceedingly unsafe condition. From the Pariah 
Books we learn that a Vestry Meeting was held 
February 5th, and it was agreed by the inhabitantal 
present, *' that John Chessldre J be employed loJ 
raise acaflbldlng to examine more minutely the Coa<l 
dition the said Spire is now in, and that he shall 
be allowed Ten Pounds for raising such scaffold'^ 
ing if he shall not be employed in repairing thial 
Spu*e, If he is employed the expense for raising] 
it is to be looked upon as iuclnded in the astimati 

* lu the Univtrait Mit^ftulne, \792, U the foDowliig t«nigll|»llj 
mpeotlo); Urn old BirmitigUam ecu ten aria n ^-.- 

*' AiioirsT 4. — lAlalj died iu Di^l^th ntat BirmingKnm^ In tiia] 

lO^fd JBAT Ot hU Ag«, JohQ ItobortB, WtkO r«TAlll«(l UU fACbllfM 1 

tho \aaU ftnd followed hit «xaploym«nt within a fevr weolus of hial 
death, ThiA Gitraordinary old toftn lonrrted three wirtt, by vboo 1 
iM bod Its children ; he wm nuulf S9 wHea he nuuriAd lU* Uct 
ADd hid lix of the children by htr" 
The old tnaithy nwt Uken down lit XpHl 1S(H, 
t In hli ioterle*vud cf>py of Htitsoti't History of Btrmln^tm 
now in the postfttsloD Ml 

t Jobn diMvhf f« wriA rchtleel, k %mUr 

of 0?csr-Wbit»«.^re, Sf* .t„ ,„im, ■. .m„^,^^i,c,'' IT-^^"* -■-* 

Btrmingliun tn ITWX 1 



haa delivered to the Chturch wardens. l^.B, 
The Ladders to be the property of Mr. Chesshire 
when the repairs are conaplete."* On the thir- 
teentb of the eaine month another meeting was 
held, at which it was decided to give the work 
to Mr. Chesshire, Thirty-three feet of the 
spire were to be taken down, and the remainder 
kI ; an iron spindle of 105 feet long was to 

i brought through its centre, and secured to the 
nde walla every ten feet by braces ; the material 
to be naed in the repairs to be Attleborongh stone. 
It waa subsequently found necessary to rebuild on 
additional eeven feet, making forty feet in all ; 
tbe entire cost of the repairs being £166 9s, 

The portion of the churchyard which was now 
opened to the street (by the demolition of the 
house of Francis Moles,) at the gateway opposite 
Moor Street, was now ["fenced in with *' iron 
palisadoes.*' In the interior of the church great 
ii]t6|fttioQ8 had been made. '^The seats," says 
Hutton, ** would have disgraced a meaner parish 
than that of BirmiDgham ; one would be tempted to 
think they were the first ever erected on the spot, 
without taste or order; the timber ws-s become hard 
with age, and to the honour of the inhabitants, 
bright with use. Each sitting was a private free- 
hold, and was further disgraced, like the coffin of 
a pauper, with the paltry initials of the owner*s 
name These divine abodes were secured with 
tliA coaiBe padlocks of a field gate. . . . Aa 
^16 town incieaaed, gallery after gallery wob 
incted| till no conveniency was found for more» 
Invdntion was afterwards exerted to augment the 
nnmbar of sittinga; every leoeas capable only 
of admitting the body of an infant^ was converted 
into a seat.'^ 

To feniedy this undesirable state of affairs it 
was reeolved by th« Vestry, in December, 1784, 
that application should be made to the Chancellor 
of the Diocese, for a faculty to empower them to 
f down ** all and singular the pews, Seats, and 
ag Places, together with the l*ulpit and 
raiding Desk, and the several galleries within the 

* J T %ac9 r HittCTT of Old St. Hanin •, f . 40. 

parish Church of St. Martin in Birmingham, and 
totally to remove the same, ^nd re-erect new 
Seats, Pews, and Sitting Places, with a pulpit and 
residing desk upon the ground floor of the said 
parish Church together with large and spacious 
galleries with seats, pews, and sitting Places 
therein," according to certain plans furnished by 
Mr. Richard Dick en, ** the surveyor of the 
arcliitect intended to be employed in the altera- 
tion of the Church," 

Here was an opporlunity for the churchwardens 
to redeem all the follies and blunders of their 
predecessors, and to restore the interior of the 
eburch to something like its original appearance. 
But alas for tho want of taste which characterised 
tliat period in our history, the new " Pews, aeatfi, 
and sitting Places," which t!ie restorer designed 
** to remaiQ for ever hereafter ■* were quite as bad 
aa, if not even worse than, those which they 
superseded. Happily, however, the ** for ever 
hereafter" came to an end earlier than the 
perpetrators of the restoration intended, being 
doomed to destruction, with the old building, 
in 1872. 

During the alterations in 1785-6, (which in- 
cluded not merely the erection of new pews and 
sittings, but also the new roofing of "the north 
and south side,^' an 'improvement* which entirely 
hid from view the clerestory windows), the amount 
of damage done to the interior of the chnrch can 
scarcely be estimated, **The vast number of 
grave-stones, which nearly covered the fioor," says 
Hutton, **and the names of the defunct, with 
their concise funeral memoirs, were committed to 
the same oblivion as themselvea. The arms, 
monuments, pews, pulpit, roof, and charities,* fell 
in one general ruia. Nothing was left of this 
venerable edifice but part of the walls. Even 
the fine old monuments of the ancient lords, the 
pride of the church, coidd barely find a place 
above ground, and that in the last stage of 

* ▲ lUI of Uw ei»rtti«t of tht town la frequftDtlj to be met with 
ta old pAhih dmrcbM, pAlnted on « bo&rd, which u i«t up to toa* 
«9n»pieaoui pUw. Hodan **iMtorvi " havi, la too mtaxj te* 
■UAOAt, uuMd thM« IsttrMttBg nmurlAli to bt nn^Tid. 



[Blnningii>m ta IT9Q. 

existence, the stair-hole. With all my powers I 
pleaded for the lorda and their arms; but although 
I pleaded without a fee, I was no more regarded 
than some who plead with one."* 

The following entry in the town accounts, 
under date Oct 18, 1786, probably has reference 
to the sale uf some of theae venerable remains : — 

*' reed, for Old Lead 
*'do. Old Materia 

246 11 lOi 
17 8 4" 

The entrance to the churchyard is now open, 
the house at the gateway opposite Moor Street 
having been cleAred away* But there stUl remain 
certain of the old houses crowding around the 
sacred edifice, as did the mercenary traders around 
the temple of old ; the Commissioners have still 
much to do, for the shambles and the Eoundabout 
Houses still crowd up the market-pkce, notwith- 
standing the acts of 1769 and 1773. The Old 
Market Cross has gone, however, having been 
demolished in August, 1784. The materials were 
sold by auction by T» Sketchley, August 7th, for 
£60, and the clock and bell for £10 ; that course 
having been eanctioned by a Town's Meeting held 
at the Puhlic Office in Dnlo End, July 2l8t, to 
consider the niinous state of that vonerable struc- 
ture. The event called forth from some local 
versifier the following epigram, which appeared 
in the Gazette, August 16 th : — 

On the Salt of Birmingham Old Crass, 
**CoDscien(!o's Court by auction i^ea, 
Bidders, though few, tbo hummer dOM 

The business io a trice ; 
At sixty poo n da the "blow is struck. 
Ten more knocks down the bell and clock j 
Commiarioners — bo price." 

Passing a little further up the High Street we 
notice the most improvement yet eSectcd under 
the Lamp Acts, viz., the opening of the end of 
l^tw Street. The old houses blocking up the end 
of the street which is in future years to become 
the principal thorouglifare of Birmingham, are now 
removed, and wo no longer pass under a narrow 
gateway to reach it llie old houses of William 

Button have passed away, and now we behold 
our friend's newer place of business on the other_ 
side of the street, opposite the end of Nen 
Street, Little does he think» as he stands i 
his %^aluable collection of books and printSi 
chats with a friendlj customer over his ne 
literary undertakings, his History^ his Court 
Requests^ and Battle of Bogworih Fidd^ hj 
Jourti&fj to Londofif and Desmptwfi of BU 
poolf' — srnOing to think of his having ent 
upon a busy literary career at the age when most' 
men leave off, — of the evil days which are so near 
at hand. As he receives the friendly word and 
the nod of recognition from the many townsme 
who have learned to respect and admire the oil 
bookseller who has proved himself so worthy 
citizen, he dreams not of the surging mob of 
enemies, eager to destroy his home and his pt 
perty, and ready even to take his life, if he shou 
fall in their way, — ^yet the hour of terror is not 
far distant 1 

But we must pass on our way. The Wolah_ 
Cross still stands, and the Beast Market 
hinders the traffic in Dale End The horse-fa 
has been removed to what has hitherto beeo^ 
known as Brickiln Lane, near the end of Small- 
brook Street, but which is hereafter to bear the 
new name of the Horse Fair. As we pass along 
Coleshill Street we come upon an entirely new 
suburb. The fair estate of Dr, Ash has already 
begun to be built upon, and is cut up into broad, 
well-made streets. The doctor's house is imde 
going considerable internal alteration, and 
buUding will be ready for opening as a Chapel \ 
the Establishment before the end of 1791. 
first announcement of the break-up of the est 
appeared in the Oazetie of October 29th, 17Sl| 
the house and land having been previously offer 
for sale as a single lot without succeea* On i 
13th of February, 1788, a more detailed annoonoe- 
ment appeared as follows :- — 

Building Land in tho pariah of Aston, near Bli 
ham, latfl the estate of Dr. Ash, to be Let in parvtK 1 
the residue of a term of mnuty-niiie yeans, about cightj 
e^t of wMch are ontxpired. Thia mUXt^ m pecuhajrly 



[DirrolnghJitn In l^ 

eligible in it« vicinity to the town, and not lilcely to »>«» 
suTToanded with baildings, having lately been laid out 
into strt'pts well adapted to secure the benefit of a free and 
houlthful air, bos Hufficiently proved the desirableness of 
it* situation, as well as the easential advantages arising to 
the tenant? who have already been fortunate euoogh to 
tak*" part of it for building. Tlie quantity now let and 
thfi preparations making, promise a rapid progress in the 
buildings intended to form the Hamlet of Ashtodf whirh 
ia planned with more regularity and unifonnity than has 
usually been attended to In laying out Land for building 
in BiniiinghanL To render the streets spacious they are 
uijide from sixteen to upwards of twenty yards wide, and 
levels are taken to make piroper falls for carrying off the 
the water, to prevent similar inconveniences to those which 
liiive been so generally experienced from the want of 
altenlion to so necesBaiy a precaution. 

The valuable articles of clay and sand upon the prc- 
misea afford a Tery beneMftl Mcommodation to the 
tenants ; to which may be added, the convenience of 
plentiful springs of fine soft water, and a considerable 
Baving in parm- hiai ^aynienta ; the levies being two -thirds 
less in the pari^ih «f Asttcm than in Birmingham. 

As the season for bmlding is approaching^ it iji hoped 
that those who are indined to secure a situation «o replete 
with advantageous inducements, will not lose the present 
opportunity of aviAing themselves of it. 

A plan of the etftote may be seen, and every other infor- 
mation and Hatisffaction that can possibly be required 
respecting the Mme, may be had hy applying to Mr. 
Brooke, attorney. Temple How ; or to Mn Kempson,. 
surveyor, Bath -street, Bimiingham. 

K. B. A quantity of Thorns, growing Quick, a.nd 
young Trees of various sorts upon the above estate, to he 
disjiosed of, 

A diflSculty appears to have been placed m. the 

way of inti^iiding speculators, by statemeiita to 

the effect that Sir Chai^les Holte had not fewer 

to grant leases foT the tenn of ninety -nine years ; 

these Btatemenfcs called forth the following 

annonnceraent from the lessee of the land ; — 

Mr. Brooke having discovered tliat a number of persons 
are prevented taking the land for building which he 
bought Lif Dr. Ash, in coiiKequence of a re[X)rt being 
circukted that Sir Charlea Holte had not power to grant 
leases for the term of ninety nine years, and of other 
futile insinuations ; respectfully aasures the public, that 
he UJiuie the purchase wifh the ccneurrenee of Mr, Lcgge 
and Mr. Pujbif^ and took the title under the directioa of 
Ctiuuacl, which is perfectly clear, and may be perused by 
applying to him. 

Whether envy of tha succcaa which haa attended the 
purchase, or tself^interest has utiiTcd up the vicious minda 
of the authors of a report equally false as malidous, Mr. 
Brooke tl at tens himself they will not remain long undis- 
covered^ that he may have an opportunity of seeking 
redrest for the unwarrantable ttijaiy lie kmt austeinedi and 

hereby gives notice, that if any peraou in ftitura i 
filandcr his title to the above-mentioned estate, an 
will be commenced against them. 

Thus did the estate of Dr. Ash suffer invade 
hy the busy town ; the cattle being *' turned o\i 
of their pasture, to make room for man ; and the 
arts planted where the daisy grew," * And wl: 
this great change was taking place on the on©! 
side of the town, the Itist vestii^es were being 
remoTed of an old estate un the other. On 
the 2nd of July, 1787, we read in the Gazette on 
annoimcement of the sale by auction, '^upon 
the premises, in Bimiingham," on Tuesday, July 
'24th, ''if not sooner disposed of by private 
contract,*' of **that well-known Mansion, called 
New HftU, with all the Offices and Out-buiiding% 
except the Bam/* The whole of this old Bi] 
mingham homestead is to be cleared away wii 
a month from the time of sale. And so 
away, to become one of the grimiest districts i 
the grimy town, the pWsant, park-like estate of 
the Colmore fasifly, and New Hall is known no 
more save in the names of two of the streets into 
which the land has been cut. We cross the 
estate, and reach the foot of Snow Hill, but the 
town has now grown beyond the " Salutation," 
and it is not until wc have reached the crest of 
the MD beyond that we leave the buildings behind 
na, and obtain a delightf id view over the valley at 
our feet, — across to the right towards Aston, 
where, behind the lofty trees in the park, we dis- 
cern the graceful spire of the church, and the 
minarets of the old hall of the Holtes; and 
beyond these we get a view of Barr-beacon an 
the adjacent country. In the valley, to the lef 
we notice a curious and picturesque rulii of sotq 
apparently very ancient monastic building; 
old as it seems, it wjts not in existence wbn 
Boulton founded liis great manufactory at 8oh 
As we approach nearer to it the mystery 
to increase. What is ^e material of which it 1 
built ; how came it here, and who was tfa 
builder? are the questions we are immediate 

BtimJiichus is ITfOJ 



I prompted to ask respecting this strange ruin. 
The Btory is as follows : An ingemous mechanic, 
Richard Ford hy name^ noticing the waatefal 
oxpendiitUB of hie companions at the alehouse, 
concei?ed the idea of laying aside two shillings a 
day in order to build for himself a picturesc|ue 
and appaxently ruiuoiia dwelling on a piece of 
waste, boggy land at Hockley, the material to be 
used in the deception being th^ large masses of 
ecoriae, usually termed slag or droes, that lay round 
about the Aston furnace, not far away, in great 
abundance* When his horse and cart (which his 
small business re<|uired him to keep) were at 
^^ leisure! ^® ^^^^ them over to the furnace, to bring 
; away the scoriae to be used in his ** ruined abbey," 
until he had collected a sullicient quantity, and 
then began to erect the bmlding to represent ruins. 
In front of the house, to add to the deception, is 
the date 1473, in small pebble stones; but the 
real data of the building is probably about 
1780, WTien overgrown with ivy it presented a 
picturesque appearance, as may be seen from our 
illustration on page 183, which is taken from a 
little sketch in Bisset'a ** Jtlagnificent Directory/' 
The builder, Bichard Ford, is said by Pye to have 
invented a "one-wheel carriage,'* constructed 
entirely of iron, and to have received a gold medal 
Cram the Society of Arts for the invention, 

Ketoming to the town we risit next the 
channing breezy site of the intended Crescent, 
commanding a view of the pleasant diBtrict sur- 
rounding 8t Paul's, a i>art of the New Hall 
estate, wliich is, as yet, little built upon. Away 
to Uie left lies the north*western portion of 
Sdgbattcdk, with PerroVs tower rising in the 
dialance, and directly before us a view aver 
fialds and gutxlens to the Bummer Hill estate, 
the prospect being bounded by the Icknield 
Street^ lined on either side by a row of pleasant 
shady trees ; truly a charming prospect, and one 
of which we fain would hope the projector's 
' t be veriiied, namely, that it *' can- 
I Tuptcd/^ Alas for human hopes 1 
Lei Uie reader stand tOKla^i in the year of grace 


I shady t 
^^ of wiiii 

eighteen hundred and seventy -eight, on the plateau 
in front of tlie Citsscent and mark the contrast 1 
But certainly in 1788, when the project was first 
kid before the readers of the Birmmgham Gazdie^ 
no bettor site could possibly have been chosen 
witiiin anything like the same distance from the 
town, and it is not a matter of surprise to find that 
the proposed Crescent was looked upon with great 
favour. It is frequently mentioned during 1788 
and 1789 in the journal referred to ; the "exten- 
sive prospect that cannot ever be interrupted by 
other buildings," being more than once held out 
as an inducement to subscribers, and the "elegant" 
and "handsome" design continually meeting with 
the highest commendation. Perhaps the most 
interesting of these notices are the following : — 

" Kovcmber, 17, 1788. — A Correspondent who has Boeu 
the design for thi> elegant Credcent mtendeil to he built in 
this town, remarka, that the liotist\s will be very con* 
veuient, and the sitnation excellent in every n'SpGct^ either 
for a winter or anmmer reaideuee, as the hons**fl will have 
lioth a southerly and northerly aspect. A reservoir will 
be formed in order to aupj>ly them with good water, 
without the trouble and danger of wells or pumps. And 
it u an additional recommgndaiiaji of (he plan in thii 
growing (own, thai there is not (he host probabiliiy of any 
fiUurt buildings ever eacclnding (he inhabUanta of the 
cresemt from a most a^reeabfe prosptd of th^ eountry. The 
range of buildings undoubtedly will l>e the greatest 
ornament to the town, and pay the subscribers a good 
interest for their money." 

' ' We are happy to hoar that the Governors of the Free 
Gram mar School of King Edward the Sixth, in thia To^ii, 
have let on Lease, to Mr. ChArles Norton, a large Plot of 
ground behind Mr. Ryland^s house and garden, facing 
Slimmer- hill, whereufKin he has engaged to build the 
handsome CVtiScent that we have before spokeu of, and 
which will be a great ornament to the town. The prospeet 
it will couimand will be most exteaaivo and delightful/' 

Paseing from the pleasant site of the Creaceat, 
we come to the road leading to the Five-Ways, 
which afterwards became ** Broad Streetj" hut 
was at that time merely a foot-way, (marked on 
Hatison's Plan, 1778), along which lliere were 
scarcely half-a-dozen houses. At the Five-M^aya 
a little village had sprung up ; and so the liand- 
some modeju thoroughfare leading to Birming- 
ham's most beautiful suburb was commenced at 
the end farthest from the town. About half-way 



(Old Btnnlnghui WonthtM. 

between the Five- Ways and tlie town was an 
enclosed piece of land nsed aa the Jews' Burial 

The following advartisement, which appeared 
in tlie Gazette in December, 1783, will, however, 
give the reader a better idea of the rural appear- 
ance of thifl part of the town at that period than 
any mere description i — 

** December 22, 1783.— Land neir Birmitigham.—To be 
Let three T«ry convement and deairable Inclofturei, well 

sup[tH»»d with water, and generally known by iAe Nati 
of Farmer Smith*8 LantU, whereon are two Tenement! 
itihubited, aod a third erecting and nearly comple 
situate b^ the Foot Way from Pin/old Street to the F\4 
Ways^ at a very Little Distance from the Navi^i^ 
Hlmr/j and tme Part of wkieK Ixmd it wntigumut to tk 
Jttc'a Burial Ground, — For ParticaJars and to riew ti 
Premisea enquire of John Phillips, either at No. 
Queen-Streety or of him at the Boll's Head, in Da 

With this extract we close our notice of the 
appearance of Birmiiigham in 1790* 



John Practh and hh Fiiend*— " Tlie Twelve Apoitle*"— A warm reception— Biograjib leal NotcA on tb^ Frecth €iwle— Fi*«tht P«*?li*^ 
Wntingt— More InvtUtion ver»c«— lAtw Publlcationi— Dcftth— Joha Tiylor— H<!rtiry Clay— Dr. WltUeriag, etc, 

The history of our town seems naturally to divide 
itself into four periods : that of its infancy, 
which ends at the time of the Restoration ; the 
period of transition, from the village to the large 
manufacturing town, which is temporarily checked 
ill its further growth by the riots of 1791 and 
tlie dismal and disastrous decade 'which closed the 
eighteenth century j the third period is one of man- 
ful struggle for political freedom and better local 
government, and may be considered as closing, as 
the fourth period commenceB, with the incorpora- 
tion of the to^vn. 

We have now brought the history of the 
second period to the calamitous event with which 
it doses, (with the exception of a brief chapter on 
the religious history of the few years which pre- 
ceded that event), and may, perhaps, be excused 
for pausing in our story in order to recall a few 
of the local worthies of that time. 

As we have already made mention of John 
Frocth, in our chapter on his invitation cards, 
it will be well for us to place him first in our 
chapter of worthies, in order to complete our 
former notice, A a we then stated, he was the 
son of Charles Freeth, who kept the Leiceatrer 

Arms, in Bell Street^ and after the death of his 
father, succeeded to the position and duty 
host of that establishment The exercise 
his poetical faculties was not confined to th 
inditing of invitation-verses to simdry feasti 
and social gatherings, as our readers are douhtle 
aware, from the examples of his songs and 
ballads already quoted. In 1780 he collect 
his earlier effusions into a small volume, whicl( 
be entitled, Tfie WarwickMre Medley, or Co 
mvial Songster. By John Free. His next pui 
lication was entitled, A Touch on the Tim$s^ i 
the Modern Songster. By John Free, Th 
volume was published in 1783. In his preface . 
he says : ^M 

"It is a very common, and not an untrue 
saying, that every man has liia hobby-horse, 
Sometimes indeed it is a profitable one ; mon 
frequently it is otherwise. My hobby*hotse and" 
practice for thirty years past have been 
write songs upon the occurrence of remarkahli 
events, and nature having supplied me witli 
voice somewhat suitable to my stile of coinpcw 
tion, to sing them also, while their subjects wen 
fresh upon every man's mind ; and being a 




pTibljcan, this faculty, or rather knack of mnging 
mj own aangs, has been profitable to me ; it has 
in an evening crowded my house with customers, 
aod led me to fidendships which I might not 
otherwise have experienced Success naturally 
encouraged m© to pursue the trade of baUad^ 

the party I had espoused. During the American 
war, it wiU be perceived, I was no well-wisher 
to the Ministry that conducted it When the 
Coalition took place, I went with the popular 
tide, and joined in sentiment with those who repro- 
bated that extraordinary measure (for measures, 

Ffpm an, tngmttd parlmit aftrr F\imU, in the postaesaioa of W. Btttes, Esq., B. A 

dn{f^ for without it» it is not probable I should 
fe written a tenth part of what this volume 
I contains, 

** My songs are principally adapted to the par- 

I ticular times in which they were written, I now 

I lament I did not go more upon general topics ; 

but ongagetl in many contested elections, I was 

I obliged to turn them upon such temporary and 

subjects, as might best serve the cause of 

not men, have always claimed my principal atten- 
tion). Since that period 1 have viewed with a 
smile and indifference, political wmnglings, being 
fully convinced that the content of moat politicians 
is only for power and for favours, 

** The present minister came idoli2ed into ofBce ; 
and I have made songs in his praise, though I 
cannot but allow, that many of his taxes bear too 
hard upon the commercial interests of the king- 



[Tba '^TwAlTa Apostle*." 

dom, and that his extension of the Excise Lawa 
haa justly robbed Mm of much of liiB popularity* 

** K I had no other motives, the requests of 
travellers in the mercantile lino from every 
county, who pay me such frequent and friondly 
visits, for copies of my songs, wouid be a sufficient 
reason for the publication of this three SfiiUifig 
and Six-penny Yolume, I cannot expect it will 
please all parties; but I mean ofl'ence to none, 
and liberal minds will not be angry with me for 
fre^ily expressing my sentimente." 

Among the friends whom the genial good- 
natured host gathered around him were eleven 
of his townsmen, who, with himself» constituted 
themselves into a social club or convivial party ; 
and it has been well said that ** the nightly 
debates and clever productions of theM worthies 
gave birth to and assisted in diflusing those great 
and glorious principles which in after yean 
resulted in the paasdng of the Reform Bill, the 
Catholic Emancipation Bill, together with other 
l^rogrcsaive measures, and mainly contributed 
towards ditFusiug into the hearts of ' the people * 
those sentiments of liberalism and loyalty whicli 
experience has proved to havtd been productive of 
highly beneficial effect?." 

By their political opponents they were nick- 
named ** the Twelve Apostles," and ^th« Jacobin 
Club,*' and a rival society was farmed, whicli met 
at ^* Joe Lindon's," ^ Peck Lane ; and over the 
fireplace of the room in which they assembled 
was printed, ** No Jaeobin admitted hare/* Plarty 
feeling ran high, and on one occasion, when one 
of the twelve — the well-known James Bissei, of 
Museum and ** Magnificient Directory " fame — 
called in at the Tory ho use, one of the company 
puffed a volume of smoke into hifl face. Bisset 
had already suffered many petty annoyances and 
insolent i-e marks aimed at him, but this direct 
and gross insult roused his indignatioD, and with 
one blow ho felled the offender to the gromid. 
There then ensued a genera! mdMct in which most 
of the jugs and glasses came to grief, and Bisset 
was forcibly ejected from the house ; the unluckj 

** apostle *' was sued in the Court of Eetiuests for 
breakages, — aniountiiig to nearly -£5, — and doubt- 
less Ifijuuod by bitter experience to abstain froi 
putting in an appeajrance at " Jo© lindon's '* in 

The society at Poet Freeth's consiBted, as W8 
have said, of twelve members, including the hosi 
A picture of the group engaged in debate aroun< 
the board at f reeth's tavern, was painted by Jol 
Eckfitein in 1T92, and paid for by subscripti^ 
an the popdEV Tontine principle^ the pictu 
haooming ^nt/tjamlly the property of the 
survivor ol Ihe twelve, who proved to be 
otlijir thttn (h» hero of the episode of *^Joe 
Lmdo«X'*'-^««« Biamt A few biographical^ 
notes as to ttkft otlief inambttrs of the club may 
inteiest om irad^ra. Ttimiog to our engraving 
of the Tonliaa Fioiixia^ Ube &9t portmit (beginning 
bom the Ml haad akb) ta that of Mr. Jamt^ 
Murray, a tiiieii and wooUea draper, who resh 
in Moor Street, and was known by the title o3 
" Cheap John/* Ha was a member of the Anti- 
c^ujtriau Society ol Scotfaindt and ultimately 
emigrated to AMwrka Akova him, in a cock 
hat, ia Mr, John WUkes, a cheese-factor, who ha J^ 
a shop at the comer of Carr's Lane and liig! 
Street lie subsaqiM&tly held a commission aaj 
Captain in tbs MiUti^ Iba third portrait ia tin 
of tha worllqf koat kuaaall^ and immediate!; 
above Urn ia that ol JUr. Richard Webster^ 
brass-founiler, in Moor Street, Kext to him, 
snuff'box in hand, is the inveterate snufTtaker 
Mr. Jeremia Vaux, a surgeon who reaided in Mooi 
Street, and held a very high position in the town 
as a professional man, being both clever an* 
experienced Mr, John Colkrd ia the next 
the group j a hatter and tailor in High Streed 
and a very able logician. He wrote and publishi 
treatises on the '* Essentials of Logic,'* ** Praxis 
Logic," and other kindred subjects* The next 
portrait, at the further end of the table, is that of 
Mr. John Miles, patent lamp manufacturer, ol 
Edgbaston Street, The next is that of Mr. 
Samuel Toy, Kewhall Street, in earlier jmih a 


Joiiti Vr«€l3&.] 



' «t€el toy " manufactiireT ; btit in affror life, being 
I reduced in circrnnstances, he became landlord of 
B the Mitre Iim, where be died, after a brief illness. 
The next figure, rearing a tall bat of the mo8t 
^ approved ahape, is that of our friend James Bisset, 
f of whom we purpose giving a more detaOed notice 
in a future chapter. Below Mm is Mr, Joseph 
Fearoiv a tin-inercbant, in Bigbetb, who was for 
many yeara constable of the to^vn. He was con- 
Bideted the ablest and most fluent orator of the 
club, and is represented by the artist in the act of 
addressing his confreres. Behind him, in the back- 
ground, IB Mr. James Sketchley, an auctioneer^ 
of Moor Street^ who was for several years the 
ior member of the club. Tlie last of the 
Ive, in the right hand comer of the picture, is 
Mr. Joseph Blunt, brazier, of High Street* 

We now return to ** Poet Freeth." He re- 
published his second volume of ballatk and 
ecmgs^ with his full name, under the title of 
**The Political Songster, or a Touch on the 
_ Timee" in 1790, and called it tfw sixth edttimi^ 
f mih additions^ though, it must bo confessed, the 
intenremng editions between 1783 and 1790 
haye never seen the light of modern days, and, it 

Iifl to be feared, were even unknown in Freeth's 
own. We have already quoted several of these 
songSj many of which, — says "Este," — '* possess 
the merit and sterling animus peculiar to Dibdin's 
popular songs, whose style they closely resemble." 
A congenial subject for Freeth's muse was that of 
Tune— How hflppy a State doea a Miller posaeaa, 
Of &U ciril officers annually chose, 
Then; a none in the Kingdom are equal to those, 
Wlioie duty requin^s little more thim to rove, 
And Uate at their pleasure, ^hat ENOLtsniiRM Utvt, 

From BtuiD^sLET to Hockley our Pkovince extenda, 
1 wiali wci had lime to addrf 8« all our friends ; 
Of houaea all free-coftt, to visit, 'tis clear, 
Tius noinber is more than are days in the year* 

Wa cany no TurycHEo^fs our power to (thevr, 
Wi^ Gofcfimiaat msatten have noitaittg^ to do ; 

*Wi af* Indebted for tbe^ pu-ticiilar», to the Mote* of " Este " 
In «*lli BtlMla^ of BtTPtaghagi, ftat and ProMnt.** 

We drink with the common, yet rank with the best. 
And like Aldermen live at a Low Bailiff's Fead. 

Our good Brother Officers strangers must bo, 
When heating our rounds to the pleasures we see ; 
From Office of Constahle trouhles cnaue. 
But that of a Taster is joy the year through* 

For when upon duty, as oustom has taught, 
We caU for a Takkard, 'tw instantly hroughtj 
And how pleading it x% for a Landlord to sny, 
'* You^ro welcome kind Sir— there is nothiiig to pay." 

We visit the Markets and traverse the Streets^ 
Our Chief to assist in adjusting the weights ; 
And wish 'twere the practice in all kind of Salca, 
To down with the Steelyards and up with the Scales. 

Tlie BrrcHERS may throw out their Maiirow^bone apite, 
But reason informs us *tis nothing hut right ; 
For Justice relying on Teuth as her guide. 
When piutur'd has always the Scales by her side. 

Fill Q Bumper to Trade, *tis the Tasters request, 
With plenty may Britain, for ever be blest ; 
Where DiacoBD ahounds may true friendship commence, 
And Birmingham " flom-iah a thousand years hence." 

We have alre^idy alhided to the duliglit our 
ancestors took in the healthful sport of bowling ; 
here is a poem hy Freeth on this pastime ; — 

rune— The General Election. 
Is Ufe's merry round— with hearts that are sound, 

When subject to no innovations ; 
A Bowling-green fcast^is aurely tha best. 

And finest of all recreations ; 
On WoRcKsTEasHiRE plains— where harmony reigns, 

If truly inviting the weiitber, 
For mirth all inclined— yonll frequently find, 

Good soul*s, a round hundred together. 

On ven'son that's fine— how glorious to dine, 

Will Shakespeare would thieve it^ tliey tell ua ; 
And doubtless the Ba HP— paid a B|>eciRl regard, 

To feasting with hearty good fellows j 
Let niggards hum-drum — keep glfiuting at home, 

Themselves and their families bUrviiig, 
Whilst open and free— iht- lovers of glee, 

The good thing* of nature are carving. 

Pleasure in hor8c*mcing often is found, 

None will deny the assertion ; 
To see the bold Rockingham sweep oW tlie ground, 

To many gives noble diversion ; 
But when on the green— a party ia aeeu, 

To festiire enjoyments invited, 
Thn' rubs will ensue— when bowling's in view, 

All— nil with the sport arc delighted. 

Come, throw off the Jack— nor of playing b« alack, 
Aad mark wall its diflarent traoaa ; 



fioba FlnMtk. 

FUe.JUe, and Uware—nib^ nibj ^nd/of^ar, 

Arc bowliug-grepn jocular phraaes ; 
LF.tOH SiNTON'a the village, where every year, 

Wo meet to be friendly and joyonfl, 
From feasting, my worthies, there's nothing to fear, 

So the Head'ji not too mach on the Bias. 

Tho' strange it may seem, not to look at the cost, 

In Wor'ster 'tis roundly asserted ; 
To a poor Widow's grief, that a bowling-green must, 

To ft Vinegar-yard be converted : 
The Dean in his mind — tho' worldly inclined, 

In ft spiritual light may review it. 
But a Vinegar Saint— what language t-^nn paint, 

Twould puzzle a Bishop to do iL 

When the heart's blithe and gay— old sages will sAy, 

Time's precious— let no one misuse it, 
And as freedom's our boast— I'lJ offer a Toast, 

And I think not a soul will refuse it ; 
*' To those hearty cheer — for each other each year, 

" Whose friendship grows wanner and warmer, 
** And a good roll-ftbout- in a tub of sour crout, 

*'To every notorious Informer." 

Leaving the Ballads for a few niomentSj we 
return to tlie invitation verses, of which, being so 
Boldom seen, our readers will doubtless be glad to 
possess a few more exam pi es* 

The " hard times " appear to have borne hardly 

on the poet ] m the preface to one of his volumes 

he defends its publication on the ground of 

necessity i 

"In fact, each day, when children nine, 
In perfect health sit down to dine 
Think not the whole can be maintain 'd, 
By what Is from the ale -score gained ; 
Profiia on beer and ballads too, 
In these hard tiroes will barely do." 

Still he bravely kept up hc?art, notwithstanding 
the commercial gloom, as appears from the 
foDowing invitation : 

IN theae hard tim^s, some people say, 
Mum is the order of the day ; 
Yet shamefully cls things appear, 
Before we close this pinching yuar, 
If hearty cheer — which I presume, 
Will chftce away Novf!uiber*s gloom. 
Obey the summons, and maku free, 
Beyond a doubt you'll happy he ; 
CJome and a cheering glass partake, 
My rooms are not yet hung witli black. 

A good large Loaf for Sixpence will 
Pleivso better than P — t's Treason Bill : 
Much may be aaid, but words are vain, 
When jjore oppreaa'd. Men wiU eomplaiu ; 

Pbacr it my wish — ^but this 111 aay, 
In spite of ministerial sway, 
No rigid laws ! can conscience bind» 
No padlock cramp the liberal mind. 
Btrmungham, Nov, S5, 179S, J. FREB 

Again ** hard times'* are the burden of hia i 
in the beginning 1796 : 

HOWEVER hard the Timci may be, 

Lovers of Jocularity, 

Will some few Moments set apart, 

With wholesome Cheer to glad the Heart ; 

Then mark the Summons, come away, 

And make the most of Pakcakb Day, 

The Meadows, as in Spring, look green, 
And ShrovE'Tide without Snow is seen jj 
For tho' old Ocean Boreas shakes, 
Stern Winter no Appearance makes ; 
The Wind sticks closely to one Point, 
The Seasons are got out of Joint ; 
Tho TiinosTLE has his Nest erected, 
Next Month the Cuckoo is expected, 
Whose Voice will doubly glad the Spring, 
If Peace comeii seated on his Wing, 
mrmin^ham, Feb. S, 17^6, J- FREE 

In the glorious montb of June, in the 

year, he aeems for a while to have forgotten j 

troubles : — 

GEESE and Green Peas — luxurion* Fare, 
Always in Juno in Season are ; 
Come to til e IJoard where plenty roigna. 
My Vault tho best of Ale contains, 
And Drinking' 8 seen in high Perfection, 
At every General Election, 

How^e'er the busy Scene may close, 
But few warm Contests have arose. 
And when the hurly-burly's o*er ! 
What better than we w ere before t 

From Germany for New a we look 
And thuugli no Blow has yet been struck, 
I TAT Y ','5 gone, beyond all hope 
Unless WG Subsidize the Pope. 

At Carlton-IIolse — old Tricks renewing, 
Whatever mischief has been brewing i 
If Tales of Women and of Men» 
Full Credit gain, not one in ten, 

Would to the P e shew auy mercy, 

If Caroline had cmnh'd his Jersey ; 
But Discord drown^may F'lenty smilo, 
And Peace make happy BarrAiK's IsLS. 
Birmingham, June S, 17!^, J. 

In 1798 hie song is blithe nnd cliet?rful, ^ 

befitted the " plentiful time " in which he 

'TIS a plentilul time all allow, 
Ajad SB there is mothii^ to fetr ; 

If at home jottVe but little to do, 
Come away, and eiyoy bearty cheer. 

To-morrow he what will the text, 
I wish — Foreign Trade to incrense, 

The Thanksgiving Day that's kept next, 
May be for a general Peace. 

One Toast let me otfer whilst wetting 

Our PirBs in our snug ijttlk Ir^k, 
'* All true British Hearts— not ffirgetting 
" Urave NELsriN, the Lord of the Nrt.R." 
Birmingham, Nov. 25, I79i. J. FHEETH, 

He closes the eighteenth century witli a doleful 
catalogue of ilia, brightened at the end like the 
ailyer lining of a black and threatening cloud, 
with a hopeful anticipation for the coming year : 

I AIUCH the Wor<l ScnrcUy hate, 

An<l long aa 1 find rayself able, 
Mor« Coat tho* hard Times must create, 

1 Plenty will ha ye on my Table, 

Againjit the fond Wishes of some, 

Though Peack for a while is snsrjiended ; 

Depend on't that Blk-ssino will come. 
Before the jmxt CsNTrRYi* ended. 

The greatest of Ills to remove, 

Away with that Munhteu— (^<<»rtw^»dw; 

For Thouaaijils caii/cdiufjly prove. 
They too luut h ajv plugu'il with Taxation, 

My Wish corre«JiK)nd will with many, 

That aoon through the Laiiil may be fonnd 
•* Twelve Ounces of Bre^wl for one Penuy, 
" And good Beef at Four*i>cnce ppr Pound." 
Birinijigham, Nov, S4, iSOO. J. FREETH. 

War with the French, on the banks of the 
Nile, contrasted with the happy prospect of a rich 
harvest at home, forma his tlieme at the com- 
mencenient of the preheat century : 

IN Egypt the French whilst the English are Imnging, 
Of Grain through the Land a fine Prospect we view ; 

But the Bulk of the People say nothing but hanging, 
To lower the Price of Provision will do. 

in the Mem*ry of Man, a more beaatifuJ Sea^on^ 
By all 'twin be granted did never appear; 

gpECULATOEa are puzzled to give any Reason, 
Why idl Tldnga ahonld atili be enormously dear. 

As Changea the World ever ringing will ha, 
Distrew to away with, and Misery ilrown ; 

Let the Toast be — that aoon happy Days we may jsee, 
And Peace be at Hand, a rich Harvest to crown. 

BirmiTVfhamj JulySJ, 180L J. FKEETIL 

We return now once raoro to his published 
work:*. The '' skth e lition '* of the Political 

SoH'jder was followed« in I793j by a lit 
pamphlet of eighteen pagea, entitled, A Colledu 
of New S(mg(t on ike Prrseni Tim^^t, AdaphA 
Cammon Tunes^ printed by T, Chapman, in Bu 
Street, and sold at threepence. The princij 
enbjects of the songs are, the •* Canal Feve 
Paper CrocU\ (**Lesis Paper Credit, and tncJ 
Tower Guineaa,") Blue and Orange Unit 
Xational Convention, Lord Macartney's Emli 
to China, and the disturbances on the CoutineD 
Two stanzas of the song on Lord ^lacartney 
Embassy are prophetic as to the opening up 
that vast empire to British Commerce, and haf 
a local interest : 

** Wliat pleasure here ranst tradesmen feel, 

For toil how 'twill requite 'em, 
When calb* for goods of brass and steel, 

Are brought ad infinituvi ; 
With fancy buttons, soft or hard, 

Oilt, silvered, or pl&tina, 
'Twill take an age to pattern-eard 

The vast empire of China* 

** Should building ten more centuries 

Keep rapidly incre4ising, 
The land be blest with tranquil joys 

And commerce never ceasing ; 
The town of Birmingham will ruach 

The banks of fair Sabrina, 
And larger then thnu Pekin be. 

The capital of China.'* 

Most of these songs reappeared in his tie 
publication, The Annufsl Pfditical Sowjsirr, 
pamphlet of 48 pagers, printed by Thomas Pearson 
in 1794, which consisted chiefly of old piec 
selected from the several volumes previoiish 
published. A copy of this pamphlet in tk 
possession of Mr. John Bragg is inscribed, in th 
autograph of the old poet himself, ** th« gift 
Poet Freeth to J. Clarke, by the Hands 
J. Pool, April 6th, 1794." 

In 18Q3 came a new volume bearing the i 
leading title as his second published work 
Touch on the Time^ ; a CoUfidion of Netc S&ng 
'YhiB was foUowedi two years later, by his 
pamphlet, the New Ballads to Old Familiar Tun 
printed for the author at Knott and Lloyd's offic 
High Street This is entirely of a polife 

John Kinetli.} 



jdiailieier, arid the aongs am nov^, as described, 

F vnth one axception, vk» : ** Whipcord, or, The 

Walking Stationers," which, being *' appropriato 

to the present Times," is ** now printed," the 

author tells us, *' by particular request." 

He died, September 2*)th, 1808, in the 78th 

year of his age ; his death was recorded in the 

Gazette m fallows : — 

Oct 3, 1808.— On Thursday in the 78th year of his 
Age, Mr. John Frceth, of this town, commoiily calked 
Poet Frp«?th, a fAC«tion» bard of n attire, forty -eight years 
I»ro|trietor of Freeth'« Coffee-Hous«, BkII Strrtet^ a htjii«e 
luach. freiiut'Dted by strangera as well a§ the iiilmbiUnts, 
whcTB the Poet ij«ed every evening to delight n largo 
cat»t|)any with original songs, composed from sul>je<'ta of 
A |>ablic nAture, repU'te with wit and humour— 

** \V1io when good newa in brought to town, 

im mediately to work sits down, 
And busineaa fairly to go through, 

Writea aongs, finds tunes, and siuga them too." 

Uii mofats wore unsullied, and hia manner uoafTected. 
Formtd to enliven the social cindo, possejssingwit without 
acrimony, and independence of mind without pride, he 
WHS Ijeloved by his fiieuds, L^ourtwl by strangt-ra, and 
rcHpcL'ted by all. The honoless, yet i>oiritcHl «dlii*s of his 
itiujw*, will b<? remembered with ple^ising pnin by thousands 
wbo tulniired his talents and revere his virtues. 

lie was buried in the Old Meeting House Imrial 

griiund, and nn hia tombatone are iiiscrilied the 

following lines:— 

*' Free and easy through life *twaa hi a vvhih to proceed, 
iJood men he revered, bo whatever thuir creed ; 
His pride was a sociable evening to spends 
For no man loved better his pipe and hia friend/* 

There are several portmita of the jovial rdd 

ballad-maker extanL One appeared as the 

frontispiece to the PoUtiml Sorufffter, and from 

this our engra%ing on i>age 159 is taken; another^ 

in aO, ia in tlie Corporation Art Gallery ; a third 

ia in the possession of Mr. Timmins j another, 

•oofirding to Dr. Langford, represents him as a 

I compaiatively young man ; and a hfth is included 

tn Eckstein's group, which is copied on page 207 

. IbLs Tolume. 

be name of John Freeth will probably never 

^in the roll of Engliah poets ; he knew 

anything, of the "divine nfHatus," nnd 

bti affusionB are hardly of tliat order which the 

iworld will not williiigly let dio;— but neither 

were those of the poet-laureate r>f hia day, — 
Ilonry Jamea Pyc,— ** a man eminently respect- 
able," saya Lord Byron, ** in everything but his 
poetry." Freeth's muse was of the mechanical 
order, and needed not the ** fine frenzy " of the 
poet ; it could work to order, whenever the events 
of the time required a stirring ballad, fitted to a 
popular tune, whicli the people could sing. And 
perhaps, in the times in wliicb they appeared, 
these homely songs and baUads, albeit not *' Hue 
poetr}%" may have done more to foster a love of 
fmedom and toleration among Birmingham men, 
and were productive of more iniiocent enjoy Uient, 
than even infinitely nobler productions, leas 
** imderstanded of the people.'* 

As illustrative of our loe^il history, and of the 
manners and customs of the people, Freeth'a little 
volumes will ever be treasured by tlie Birmingham 
antiquary, and for his servicoa in the cauise of 
freedom the name of their author will be had 
in loving rememl>ranco among generations of 
Birmingham men and women yet iiuborn. 

From the merry circle at the tavern^ and it8 
ballad-m along host, we turn now to the worthies 
of trade and commerce. First among these (after 
those to whom we have devoted special chapters) 
stands John Taylor. He was born in the early 
part of the eighteenth century, and com minced 
life as an operative^ — a cabinet-maker, we believe. 
" He possessed," says Hutton, " the singular 
powers of i)erceiving things as they reaUy were," 
and did not long remain in the ranks of the 
artiaam **To thia uuct^minon genius," continues 
OUT bisknian, "we owe the gUt button, the 
japanned and gilt Biiuff-boxea, with the iiumertms 
race of enamels. From the same fountain issued 
the painted snuff-box, at which one servant earned 
three pountls ten shillings per week, by painting 
them at a farthing e^ch." PI is improvements in 
these various branches of tratle procured for him 
a more than local fame. He became acquainted 
with Dr. Samuel Joluison during the latter*s first 
sojourn with Pximund Hector, in 1731, and thus 
seeun*d for him^telf a nic!ie in that gallury oi 



[John Tiylor and Benrf ClAf. 

eighteenth-ceTitury worthiest, the peerless Lf/e of 
JohtuoHj by Bos well. ** On one occaaion," Hution 
tells us, a noble visitor, ** exftinining the works, 
with the master, purchased some of the articles j 
among others, a toy of eighty guineas value, and, 
while paying for them, observed, with a smile, * he 
plainly saw he could not reside in Birmingham 
for less than two hundred pounds per day/" 
"There waa in his inventions," sayB Mr. W. 
Hawkea Smith, " a decisive elegance, and an ob- 
vious indication of good taste, that ensured a quick 
sale and large profits." It is said that the value of 
the weekly production of buttons alone (exclusive 
of other valuable productions) at hia works was 
not less than £800 a week* He is styled by 
Hutton **th6 Shakespear or the Newton of his 
day ; " rising, '* from minute beginnings, to shine 
in the commercial hemisphere, as they in the 
poetical and philosophical ; *' and our historian 
justly estimates that no inconsiderable portion of 
the riches, extension, and importance of Birming- 
ham in the eighteenth century » are owing to the 
industry and ingenuity of John Taylor. IJis 
share in the establishment of the first Birmingham 
Bank will he noticed in our chapter oo those 
institutions* He died in 1775, at the com- 
paratively early ^e of sixty-four, leaving behind 
him a fortune of not less than £200,000: 

Another of the heroes of the workshop was 
Henry Clay, to whom we owe the invention of 
papier- mAcht?. He was in early life an apprentice 
to John Baskerville, who was at that time engaged 
in tb© japanning trade, A species of papier-mach<!» 
had been made long previous t-o Clay*8 invention, 
by reducing paper to pulp, and ]>ressing it into dies. 
Clay*8 patent is dated November 20, 177*2, and 
sets forth the uses of the new material, in ** making 
high varnished panneb or roofs for ooaehe% and 
all sorts of wheel carriages and sedan chairs, 
panneh for rooms, doors, and cabins of ships, 
cabinets, book-cases, screens, chimney-pieces, 
tables, tea-trays, and waiters ; " the material being 
produced ** by pasting several papers upon boards 
or plates of regular thicknesses on each side the 

same*' until the requisite thickness is attained; 
the edges are then cut oflF or planed " until th 
board or plate appears," and the paper* taken ( 
such boards or plates are screwed or fastened on 
boards or plates, and rendered inflexible by dryin^H 
on a hot stove, while at the same time they ar^| 
rubbed with or dipped in oil or vamiah, which 
" drenches into them, and secures them from 
damp/'* The inventor claimed for the new 
material that it could be sawn, planed or turned 
like wood, and that after being japanned it would 
be brought up to the highest polish by friction 
with the human hand. 

In 1778 he took out a patent for manufactu 
buttons in tliis material ; and afterwards obtaine 
an extension of the patent, on the ground of 
having invented a new method ctf securing the 
shanks. He also manufactured buttons of 
on a large scale. 

He amassed a princely fortune by bis manufai 

tures, and was elevated in the year 1790 to th 

office of High Sheriff of Warwickshire, Like 1 

master, Ba^skerville, he seems to have been fon 

of display, as will be seen from the folio wi 

extract from the Gazette of ^farch 29, 1790:— 

"On Mondftylast Henry Clay, E^q,, the Higb She 
of this County, proceeded from hi^ house in New ili 
Street in this town, to attend the Judge, Mr, 
Thompson, during the Assize at Warwick, the comuiissidi 
for which was opened on Tuesday, JVw gentlemen hAl\ 
made so brilliant an appear&noe, or been so numeroud 
attended in the hi^h office which he holds, as Mr, Of, 
He was accompanied by the Magistrate^ neighboari 
Gentry, and principal inhabitauti of the town, in thei 
carriages, and on horseback. His javelin mvtt anJ 
aervauta were nuraerouB, and were clothed in rich lirericf 
of white faced with red, silver epauletea, buttona ted 
capes r his postiUions were in jackets of scarlet and uilrer, 
with black caps and silver tajBsels. The whole fonofd « 
most splendid train of ncArly half a mile in length ; (uid 
we may venture to say, from the concourse from all part*, 
that the procession was beheld and cheered by upwardji of 
forty thousand spcctatora. We have been faToured by i 
friend with the following lines on tlic day : 

The day was delightful and brilliant the tmn^ 

And tbotisands went tripping aw«y ; 
Twas harmony all, and may hannony mgn. 

Nor Discord her Banners display. 

* AbridgeTQimU of Etefcant e^aeUkaUatia 
Papier MAgLA, p. S. 


Pr. WlUm^^g.} 




In Europe*8 Grand Toyshop, with lovera of trade, 
Tbe sc«ne wHut great pleasurtj must crown, 

Doserred reepect to the Arts hti^ heen puid, 
Asd honour it does to the Town. 

The Aged and Yonng— fondly mix'd in the throng, 

And gas'd with anxi^'ty keen ; 
*Twis A crowded Spring Fair —and like mercantile ware, 

All 8ort« and ftU Sizes were seen. " 

Clay also effected an improvement in the con- 
struction of Canal Locks ; his elegantly designed 
address card in Bisset*s " Magnificent Directory " 
liAS a small Yignette Illustration of this invention. 
Our next and last "worthy" of the present 
chapter is the well-known botanist and physician, 
William Withering, Ho was bom at Wellington, 
Shropshire, March 17, 1741, and was educated by 
the Bev. Henry Wood, of Ercall ; he matricnlatcd 
at Edinburgh in 1762, pa\nng special attention to 
thfi study of anatomy and chemistry. After 
iMkfi^g attained many distinctions^ he finished his 
fWOiSanical course in 1766, and shortly afterwards 
proceeded to Paris. We find him in 1769 at the 
famous Shakespeare Jubilee at Stratford-on-Avon, 
being a great lover of the drama. He had, two 
yeam previously, settled at Stafford, where he 
commenced those botanical researches from which 
he gathered the material for his great work on 
that subject On the 12th of September, 1772, 
he married Helena, daughter of Mr. George 
Cookeg, and remained at StalFord, until the spring 
of 1775^ gaining considerable reputation in his 
profession, so that, on the death of I>r. Wra, 
Small in that year, he was invited by Dn Ash 
to come to BiTmingham, an invitation to which 
he speedily responded, and settled down in this 
town, talking possession of the house and practice 
of Dr. Small, The next year his Botany appeared, 
m two volumes, and he translated Bergman on 
the Analysis of Waters, giving special analyses 
of the celebrated local springs. In 1778 he 
publiiihed his Accoutit of Scarlet Ftvtr and Sore 
Thro<U^ then very prevalent in the town. On 
the completion of the General Hospital, in 1779, 
(in the eatalilishment of which had Uboured 
ttlf diuing hia leddence among us, as had 

his predecessor Dr. Small,) he was elected one of 
the first phpicians, and was connected with that 
institution about thirteen years. He passed 
several months of the year 1784 at Soho House, 
as the guest of Matthew Boulton, and was 
admitted a member of the famous Lunar Society, 
which comprised nearly every eminent scientific 
man of that period. In 1785 he published 
his valuable treatise on the Medical Uses of 
the Foxglove, and it is to this work that 
we owe the introduction of that powerful medicine 
iuto practice; it was greatly valued and praised 
by the profession, and its discoverer elected a 
Fellow of the lioyal Society. In the April of 
the following year he went to live at Edghaston 
Hall, which Sir Henry Gough had just left ; and 
there prepared the second edition of his Botamj, 
He sufibred in the riots of 1791,— although a 
churchman himself — for receiving and sheltering 
one of the persecutcnl families ; being threatened, 
forced to leave hig house, and to carry away or 
hide his goods, as well as hi^ most valuable books 
and specimens. His residence was only saved by 
the timely arrival of the military, otherwise 
Edgbaston Hall would have become, like many 
other houses of which we shall have to speak in the 
next and succeeding chapters, a mere hejip of 
charred ruins. From that time his health began 
steadily to decline, and although ho tried a brief 
sojourn in a warmer climate, every year left less 
of hope, and on the 6th of October 1799, he died, 
at the age of b^, and was buried at Edgba^stou, 
in a vault beneath the church, on the 10th of 
the same month. He was borne to the grave by 
six peasants who had been employed by him at 
the Hall, and followed and mourned by all the 
most famous local worthies of that day, I'here 
is a very good monument, with a bust of him, in 
the Church. 

We shall have to speak of other local worthies, 
including our two poeta, Lloyd and Collins, in a 
future chapter, inasmuch as they Ijelong more 
particularly to the early part of the nineteenth 
oeatoty, mther than tg the cigbteeiitk. 


[Clturcheft and 8ecU. ITfiaTdl. 



fot tbe CUxirchos and B^pitt, 17S1-17!*1— Dr PHoHtley and Cttthcriuc Hnttou— Growth of Dl!uieDi--Tlie TIeit Aeto^Dr. 1 
'.i&d hU opponcmtft— Wiiru) tniacuuNtniutioii— SytupatUx with tlie French Revolution— Glllray '4 Ctu-Utoii : ** A Biruiiligluuii Tu«st "-^ J 
An inftummatory tiiuid-bUl Aod iti nwu.ltii-'AimoufirumenL uf« Mt»titlli{(uf July 14. 

Is entering upon the roligioua and political 
hifitory of the few years which preceded that 
event which darkens our local history, with aa 
indLdibhf stain, and which serioiualy retarded tho 
progress, civil, inteUectual, and religious, of our 
toAvn, we would endeavour to the utmost of our 
uhility to free ourselves from all bias against, or 
ifi favour of any party whatever, to narrate the 
facts with truth and simplicity, to extenuate 
nothing, nor eet down aught in malice. 

The decade which preceded the riots was one 
of great prosperity for the dissenters in lUrniing- 
hara. In 1781 the Methodists, who had hitherto 
used the casU>ff theatre in Moor Street, hegan for 
the Hrst time to huild for themselves, and C4im- 
pleted the old meeting house in Cherry Street, 
(which was t^iken down in 1823,) ready for 
opening on the 7th of JiUy 1782, the cost of its 
erection Ijeing about <£ 1,200. The venerable 
founder of the society visited Birmingham on 
several occasions during the last few years of his 
life. He preached at the opening of the above- 
named meeting house; again in March 1783, 
although "dangerously il),*^ he preached, under 
considerable temporary excitement^ being ** electri- 
fied, [not literally, we presume,] during the 
service," and ventured to preach three quarters of 
an burn-. In 1786 he spent more than a week 
in Birmingham; he again administered the sac- 
mment to nearly seven hundred persons in 1787. 
In the same year he met with more than one un- 
pleasant adventure during a stage-coach journey 
from Manchester to this town. He had secured, 
eaya his hitest hiographeri Mr. Tyerman, the 

wliole of the coach that ran between Mancbeste 
and Birmingham for himself and friends, **Six^ 
packed themselves within, and eight arranged 
themselves without, and off they all set at mid- 
night; but even the presence of fonrtce-n Me 
thmlist preachers was not an insurance againstj 
accident No doubt, many a hynin was sung 1 
tliey whisked away through beautiful Chesbii"*} 
scenery, the stars shining approvingly, and the 
fields all around wrapped in solemn silence ; but, 
a little before three in the morning, when] 
approaching Congleton, the coach broke beneath j 
its unwonted burden, and had to be ab 
doned for another. In about an hour^ immlierl 
two was crippled like number one ; while \ 
one of the horses was so knocked up as Ui be I 
scarcely able to move at all This Methodist ] 
monopoly of the Birmingham stage coach isstied, 
not an a moonlight pleasure trip, but in a series | 
of disasters wliich men so pious and so good hadJ 
not expected. The distance was not great ; btU 
nineteen hours were spent in getting over itJ 
The party arrived in Birmingham at 7 p.m. ; i 
Weah'y, found a congregation waiting; he stepped 1 
out of the coach into the chapel, and begaaj 
preaching witliout delay. *And such,' says he,! 
* was the goodness of God, that I found no mor 
weariness when I had done than if I ha*! rested 1 
all the day.' *' 

In 1789 Wesley was present at the opening of I 
the second chapel of Methodism in Birmingboni, 
in Braiiford Street. 

Tlie Baptists and Independents also extended] 
theii* sphere of labour in Birmingham, iho foiniar I 

Ckw^MB ftii4l Heett. 1T81'17(»11 



by the erection of a second meeting-houa© in 
Bond Street, which was opened November 15th, 
1T86 J and the Ifttier by the erection of a small 
meeting-houae in Paradifie Street, opened on Whit- 
Sanday, 17S7. 

The mcrobet? of the Countess of H^intingdoii's 
oolinciction, few thongh they were in number, bad 
during this decade erected a small chapel in Pock 
Lane^ and probably another in Bartholomew 
Street^ but tlm latter may have been erected 
suljeeqtient to the riots ; it is included in Hutton's 
Iwt in 1795. 

In 1789 the Roman Catholics found a home 
once more within the borders of the town from 
whence they had been baniBhed just a century. 
A p]ac€ of worship was erected (chiefly owing to 
exertions of the Rev. Jobn Nutt, the first 
ir) on the borders of the Easy Hill estate, 
and dedicated to St. Peter. 

The Jews, doubtless having grown a- weary 
the miflerable surroundings of their little 
>gue in the Froggary, with its ** drooping 
eoagofi of poverty," erected a new and and larger 
ajnagogue in Severn Street, which was thon 
pleMAntly situated on the outskirts of the town, 
with an almost uninterrupted view of the country 
away as far as E^Igbaston. The new building 
was dedicated September 23rd, 1791 ; the cere- 
mony being performed by Mr. Phillips, Mr. 
Yates, and Mr. Levy, who, says the Gazette of 
that date, "sung the appointed psalms and songs 
in the sacred language \nth great judgment and 

le hitest of the new sects to eiect a place of 
ip in the town was that of the Sweden- 
hoTgtans. According to an interesting ncroimt 
of the early Swedenborgians in Bimiiiigham, 
contnbnle*! by Mr. John Rabone t*3 the Cmturfj 
of BirmivQlmvi Lijt;^ the first building ever 
erected for this sect in England, or indeed in any 
part of the world, was in Birmingliam, vi^., the 
chapel in Newhall Street now known as Zion 
Chapel ; which was consecrated and opened June 

19th, 1794 — only a few weeks before the out- 
break of the riots* The officiatinp; ministers were 
the Revds. Robert Hindmarsh and Joseph Proud ; 
and among those present at the opening servicea, 
were seveml prominent members of the New 
Meeting congregation, with their pastor, Dr. 

In our last notice of the churches and sects we 
referred to Catherine Button's proposed m^igration 
to the * Old Meeting * in the event of Dr. 
Priestley's becoming pastor of that congregation. 
That migration took place veiy soon after the 
doctor's acceptance of the charge, and in a letter 
to a friend at Leicester, during 1781, Miss Button 
speaks in glowing terms of the new pastor, " I 
have much to say to you," she writes, ** on tho 
subject of Dr. Priestley. I look upon Ids 
character as a pre-acher to be as amiable, as hia 
character as a philosopher is great. In the pulpit 
he is mild, persuasive, and unaffected, as his 
sermons are full of sound reasoning and good 
sense. He is not what is called an orator; he 
uses no action, no declamation j but his voice 
and manner are those of one friend speaking to 
another. If you will come to Birmingliam, I 
will promise that you shaD hear him preach ; for 
my brother and I have formally become a part 
of his cijngregation, I cannot promise to intro- 
duce you to him, as at present I have not the 
honor of his acquaintance ; but I shall lose no 
opportunity of procuring it."*" 

This honour Miss Hutton was not long in 
procuring, as will be seen from the following 
extract from another letter to the same lady, 
dated July 16th, 1783: "Your letter contains 
the second proof I have that I am spoken liand- 
somely of by Dr. Priestley; the first was so 
much in my favour that 1 dare not repeat it. 
You may be assured it gives me pleastire to be 
praised by him whom all men praise ; but I can- 
not help confessing that not more praise is due 

* MS. eopie* of MUa Hutton *d lettan in the poMeMioii of Ifm^ 
W. Fnak> Be^le \ the wbole of wUch l»Te boea klad^f plaoni at 
our dljpo«&l. mA f^om whieli iatciraitlQg estrseta wfU b« nude 
from tUiie bo time. 

to mj talents than to the Doctor's penetration in 
finding them out ; for I have not been in Mb 
company more than thi'ee times, and during them 
all I was awed by the consciotisnese of my own 
great inferiority.*' 

While all the dissenting sects were thus making 
consideralile progress, nut a single new place of 
worship was erected in connection with the 
Established Church ^ — although a small chapel, 
"converted" from a private residence, was opened 
a few months subsequent to the riots — and this 
rapid growth of dissent may possibly have 
alarmed the Church party ; as in those days, 
when toleration was almost unknown, all dis- 
senters were looked upun as dangerous to the 
welfare of the State — especially as there had 
been during tlie same period repeated endeavouTs 
on the part of the latter to obtain a repeal of the 
Corporation and Testa Acts. In these endeavours 
the name of Dr. Priestley was at aU times 
prominent. Nor was he silent on local matters, 
as we have already seen in the question of the 
introduction of controversial theology into the 
Birmingham Library, lie fearlessly proclaimed 
to the world, in his innumerable books and 
tracts, his religions and politiral convictions; 
and perhaps in this he was unwisely over- 
zealous, as even so ardent an admirer as 
Catherine Hutton, adiidts. "A circiimstanco," 
she says, *'wliicb particularly rendered Bir- 
mingham a likLdy theatre for mischief was the 
zeal of I)r, Priestley — fervent, though not intem- 
perate. Having fully assured himself of the truth 
in religion, he conceived it his duty to go abroad 
into the world and endeavour to persuade ail 
mojials to embrace it, an idea which has done 
more mischief than any which ever entered the 
ernnj^ mind of man. He sometimes, too, in bis 
sermons, ghnced at politics — a subject that should 
never be mingled with religion — and this treasured 
up wrath for bim against the day of wrath, I 
look upon Dr. Priestley as a good man, attiiched 
to bis King and country, and meaning well to 
every creature ; but, though unintentionally, and 

himself the first suffV^rer, he was, I think, one < 

the primary causes of the riota in Birminghan 

by rousing the spirit of bigotry &nd all un- 

charitablcncss in others. He was him&clf 

unconscious of having done wrong, nay. he wa 

so certain of having done only right, that 

friends took him almost by force from his hou 

and savc«l him from the vengeance of a mob \v4i 

would have torn him to piecea." 

He held a controversy vdih the Revds; S, Mnda 

and E. Bum — two of the Episcopalian clergy ( 

the town — and the paper warfare on both sid^ 

waged hotly. **To dispute with the Do 

says Hutton drily, "was deemed the road 

preferment. He had already made two bishoji 

and there were still several heads which want 

mitres, and others who cast a more humble cyf 

upon tithes and glebe lands." Several of th 

clergy did not he>sitate to stoop to a wilful, ; 

it is to be feared, malignant misconstruction 

his words. In one of his pamphlets the Do 

bad instituted a comparison between the prog 

of free inquiry and the action of gunpowder ; 

writ-es : 

**The present silent propagation of truth mAy ^?en 
compared to those causes in nature which lie donn«nt 1 
tt time, but which in proper circumstanceka act with 
greatest violence. We are, iis it were, laying gtmp<iw(i«l 
grain by grain, under the old huiMing of error 
sujrtiratition, which o single spark mfty hereafter inllarnd 
so 04 to produce an instantuueous tixi^loniou ; in 
sequence of which, that edific<i, the erection of whieh 1 
been the work of agca, may be overtunied to a 
jtnd so clfectUftUy, ii8 that the same foQiniatlon •-*« iiri 
be built upon again," 

This obviously figuriitivo expression was ac 
laid hold of by the clergy as a covert threa 
netc Gunpowder Plot, fur hhwin*^ up oB 
churi'h^ji oj the EdaUUhTmnt f *^ It was in yaiU 
that the Doctor expostulated against such mt» 
interpretation of his words, and explained 
he referred merely to the powerful loroe 

* Tills piuisag(< is referred to f D tn old poem •Btitl«d ** Top*?- 
Turvy," publishefi In ^{►s r^ 

*• EVn . ^ ' ^ ^ 


Whki... . .:...,:_...-.; ..-i, 

Tli« red night-cap take piaee of the Mltrt. " 

aryaymnt; it "waa in vuin that he pointed out 
the blamelessoeaa of his life among them; tho 
ignorant masses — and^ aLis 1 how ignorant those 
maseea were, how blindly they were led by their 
spiriting pastors and masters, we of the present 
age can never fnlly realize — believed the libellous 
charges, and hated Priestley and all ** Socinians " 
(or ** Priestley ami" as they were beginning to be 
styled), as became good Churchmen and loyal 
subj#)ct8 of King George, Eight or wrong, tlie 
parsons were against this "formidable Heresiaich," 
as he had been dubbed, and as they had the 
consciences of the masses in their keeping, it 
behoved the latter to follc^w their leaders without 
question; and **D — n Priestley" was the loyal 
and patriotic sentiment chalked up on every 
blank wall in Birmingham* 

But by far the ^-eatest crime of all which I)r. 
Priestley and the " Sociniane ^' had committed, 
was that of sympathising with the lovers of 
freedom who had just succeeded in overturning 
the throne of Louis XVI, in France. TMs 
sympathy Gilliay, the caricaturist, turned to 
account in a bitterly hostile and infamously 
libellous print — on the occasion of the memorable 
dinner to which we shall refer presently — repre- 
senting the leading ** Jacobins " of the day 
drinking **j1 BirmiDgham Toast,'* proposed by 
Dr. Priestley, " The — ^ Head here / " ie,, in a 
Communion salver which he holds aloft, himself 
drinking the toast from a chalica The Jacobins 
are represented as eagerly welcoming this toast \ 
Sheridan, pouring out a fresh glass of sheny, of 
which he has already emptied several bottles, is 
made to say (in one of those iDartistic " balloon " 
inscriptions which disfigure all the older carica- 
tures), ** I'll pledge you that toa^t," his remark 
being further garnished with choice flowers of 
speech which we need not quote here j Sir Cecil 
Wray, fmgaUy drinking small-beer, exclaims, 
"O heavens I why I would empty a Chelsea 
Pensioner'^ small^bet^r barrel in such a cause;" 
Fox, WA dminuaxiy with puneh-bowl before him, 
cries, " My soul and body, both upon the toast !" 

Homo T<»oke, who sits next him, 
•* Hollands " says, ** I have not drank so glorion 
a toast since I was Parson of Brentford ;" while i 
the comer, opposite Dr. Priestley, lua co*Feligiox3 
Dr. Theophilus Lindsey cries ''Amen I Amen ! * 
as he drinks the toast in brandy. In the hack*^ 
ground are several cadaverous-looking pietists, 
supposed to repre-sent Br. Priestley's congregar 
tion. The print is exceedingly vigorous in design 
and execution^ hut sjs full of venom as an etching 
from Gillray's needle could possibly be. A 
carefully engraved copy of this plate, diif 
of the balloon-like scrolls containing the inacrii 
tions, appears on page 215. 

But Gillray was not alone in thus taking 
advantage of Priestley's sympathy with the 
Revolutionists of France, An inflammatory 
hand-biU, purporting to come from the Doctor; 
was fabricated in London, brought to Birming4 
ham, and a few copies privately scattered unde 
the table at an inn. It ran as follows ; 

*' My Countrymea — The aecond yoax of Gallic Liber 
is nearly expired. At the commences en t of the thir 
on the 14th of thia monthi it ia devoutly to he wuhe< 
that every enemy to civil and religions despotism iroutd 
give hia SAUclian to the majtstic comnum catiae hy a {iuliU( 
celebration of the anniversary. Remember that on thai 
14th of July, the Boatilk, that * high altar and ca.ft1e of 
dL*spotism/ fell. Remember the cnthti^asm peculiar Id 
the cause of liberty, with which it was attacked. Rcmcni' 
ber that generous humanity that taught the oppressed, 
groaning under the weight of insulted righta, to save the 
lives of oppressors ! Extinguiah the mean prejadioei of 
natiouH 1 and let your numbers be collected and sent u a 
free-will oflering to tho National Asaembly. 

" But is it possible to forget that our own Parliament 
is venal \ your Minister hypocritical f your clergy legal 
oppressors \ the Reigning Family extraTagant ? the crowa 
of a certain great personn^G becoming every day too 
weighty for the head that wears it T Too weighty for the 
people who gave it \ Your Uixts partial and excessive t 
Your Heprescntation a cruel insntU upon the Sacred 
Rights of Property, Religion, and Freedom f 

*^ But on the 14th of this month, prove to the f>oliticj 
sycophants of the day that you revert^noe the OUvi 
Branch; that you will sacrifice to public tTaa<imlity» 
till the majority akall exclaim, Th^ Ptaee of Slantry i 
vxrrse than the War qf Freedom, Of that moment 
tyrants beware I " 

Thi^ seditious Land-bill, as may be imagine 
added fuol to the fire of hatred wluch burned in 

ini.ti»9tou»e«inimi^ii»iiitouonT0i] QLD AlH} ^^EW BIHMINGHAM. 


tlio hearts of the masses against the dissenters. 
The latter immediately offered a reword of one 
hundred guineas for the discovery of the writer, 
printer, publisher, or distributor of the inflam- 
matory address, and disclaimed all complicity in 
the matter, or concurrence in the sentiments of 
the writer thereoL* But this was all in vainj the 
incensed muHitude refused to belieye in the 
mnownce or loyalty of the dissenters, and watched 
their opportunity to punish the supposed traitors. 
This was soon afifoided, by the announcement of 
a meeting to take place at the Hotel in Temple 
Bow, on the 14th of July, 1791, U> celohrate the 
uiniveisary of the destruction of the BastOle* 
Dj. Priestley and his followers were at once iden- 
tified with this celebration, by the masses of the 
people, (who were opposed to the ^French Bevolu- 
ticm,) inasmuch as the worthy doctor had been 
nominated ns a citizen of the new Republic, in 
recognition of hia able reply to Burke's Refledwm 
on ihs Frmch Mevolution. The meeting was 
announced in the Gctz^te^ (in an advertisement 
dated "Hotel, Birmingham* July 7," a week 
previous to the date fixed lor the celebration,) 
and immediately under it appeared another adver- 
tisement to the effect that a list of the gentlemen 
who were present at the meeting should be 
published on the following day. This kttcr an- 
nouncement was evidently intended to intimidate 
the projectois of the meeting, and to alarm the 

In a most interesting narrative of the sufferings 

* AnoilMr reward of a boDdied fftaoeu wu aIjo olTend by tlie 
IomI sotikOfiUfli, and a Vbtad lkii&dT«d by the Go? eraniBSit. 

of tlie Hutton family durmg the lUols, written 
by the historian's daughter, Catherine, she says ; 

**Dr, Priestley admired my father, and fre- 
quently took tea with ua, without caremony. On 
Wednesday, the 6th, he drank tea with ub, and 
asked my father to join the party at the dinner. 
*I wish well to liberty everywhere,' replied my 
father, 'but public dinneTs are out of my way.* 
The doctor then asked Mr* Berington, the author 
of Lives of Hmry the Secmidy and of Abdanl 
and Heloise, who was also with us, if he would 
dine, 'No,' said Mr. Berington, 'we Catholics 
stand better with government than you Dissentera, 
and we will not make comnion cause with you/ 
On Monday, the 11th, the advertisement reapect- 
kig the dinner appeared again in the Birmingham 
newspaper, and immediately under it was another 
informing the public that the names of the 
gentlemen who should dine at the hotel on 
Thursday would be published, price one half- 
penny* This seemed a signal for mischief ; but 
mischief was unknown in Birmingham, and no 
one regarded it. 

**0n Tuesday, the 12th, I went to Bennett's 
Hill [Waahwood Heath], to pass a few days with 
my mother. In the evening my brother [Thomas 
Hutton] came, and told us that a riot was expec* 
ted on Thursday } but so little was I interested 
by the intelligeuce, that it loft no impression on 
my mind. The word r/of, since so dreadful, con- 
veyed no other idea than that of verbal abuse." 

The Huttoiis were not alone in disregarding 
the rumours of a disturbance, as we shall see in 
our next chaptert 



[Tkt *' IUToliitleiUT7 DinsK," 



A C«neUlktorT Annooneement^Pnipoi^d postponement of the dinner— The Idea of postponement abandoned — The Dinner and tlMi 
ToaaU— Aji Opposition Meeting— Commencement of Hostilitiua—AttAcik on the Hotel— The N^ew Meeting Hanae— The Old Meetin 
Hoiiae— Narrow Ea«apei — **To Dr. Prleatlej'a t "—Mr. Roaaell'a attempt to aare the hoiiae— Tb« botute deatroyed— C«ndu£t 
Dr. Prieatlej, 

The momentouft fourteenth of July at length 
arrived, and feara of a disturbance were rife on 
every hand» The peace-loving dissenters, anxioua 
to allay the fears of the populace as to thoir in- 
tentions, published, in the Birmingham Chronicle^ 
on th« morning of the litb, the following 
address : 


Several hand-bills h&ring b-oeii circuluted m tho town^ 
which can only be iiitt'nd(?ii to create distrust cDmcoming 
the intention of the raeetiog, to distarb its harmony, iind 
inflanie the luinda of the people, the gentlemen, who 
proposed it, think it necessary to declare their entire 
diaapprobation of all aucb band-bills, and their ignorance 
of the authors. Sensible themselv^js of the Advantages of 
a free goveminent» they rejoice In the extension of liberty 
to their Beighbonrs ; at the same time avowing^ tn the 
most explicit manner, their firm attachment to Iho eon- 
■titution of their own country, 'aa vested in the three 
eitatea of King, Lords, and Commons. Surely no free- 
born Englishman can refrain from exulting in thb addition 
to the general masa of human happiness. It is the cause 
of humanity ! It is the cause of the poople ! 
Birmin^haTJij Jithj 13, 1791. 

This, however, failed to reassure the people, — 
or, more probably, the movers of the projected 
attack on the dissenters, — and the disturbing 
rumours increased as the day advanced; the 
friends of the proposed celebration, therefore, 
agreed to postpone the matter until a more peace- 
able feeling should prevail, and to this end, prepared 
a hand-bill as follows : 


The friends of the intended festivity finding that their 
viewfl and intentionB, in eonsequence of being miacon- 
ceived by some, and misrepresented by others, have created 
aa alarm in the minds of the majority of the town, and, it is 
thought, endangered its tranquillity, inform their no igh- 

bottrs that they ralue the peace of the town far beyoOid_ 
the gratification of a festival, and therefore hare det 
mined to give up their intentions of dining at the hoti 
upon this occasion ; and they very gladly improve tb 
renewed opportunity of declaring that they are to th 
hour ignorant of the author, printer, or publisher of the 
inflammatory' hand-bill circulated on Monday. 

This notice of postponement was actually pQ 
into the hands of the printer, but before it was 
sot up, Mr. Dadley, the proprietor of the hot 
attended, in consequence of hie having receive 
an order countermanding the dinner, and le- 
presented that there was no ground for fear, an 
no danger of any serious disturbance ; he the 
fore recommended that the idea of postpone 
should be abandoned, hut that, in order to prev 
the possibility of danger, ** the gentlemen shou 
take care to break up early.*' This advice wi 
listened to, and orders were given for the suppn 
sion of the bill announcing the postponeme 
The meeting was most orderly, — far more so i 
many a vestry meeting where "Church and 
are duJy honoured, — and the toasts were of i 
loyal and patriotic character ; and, as much ' 
said as to the revolutionary tendency of til 
sentiments expressed therein, we append a list ( 
them, aa furnished by Mr, William Russell, (on 
of the sufferers), in answer to the calumnion 
misstatements of certain newspapers of 
opposite party. The toasts were as follows : 

1. The King and Constitution. 

2. The National Assembly and Patriots of Fnwioe,whfl»| 
virtue and wisdom have raised twenty-six millioai I 
the mean condition of subjects of despotism, to 
dignity and happiness of free men. 

8. The Majesty of the People. 
4, May the New Constitution of France be rcod 
perfect and perpetual. 

5(. Mmj GfOAt Britain, IrelAod, and France, unite in 
perpetual &ietidslLip ; and may Xhtii only riTalahip be ! 
tl» extension of peace and liberty, wisdom and virtne. 

9. The Bighta of }Sjlbl. May aU nations hare the 
wisdom to nndentand, and the conrage to assert and 
defend tliem. 

7« Th« tnid Frienda of the CauilltQ tioa of this Country, 
wbo with to preaerre its apirit, by correcting its abnsea. 

8, May the people of England neT«r cease to remon- 
itjfftte, till their Farliameut becomes a true National 

^. The Prince of Wales. 

10. The United States of America. May they for ever 
efijoy the liberty which they have so honourably ac^uired^ 

11. May the late Revolution in Poland prove the har- 
binger of a more perfect tyst^n of liberty extending to 
that great kingdom. 

12. May the Nations of Enrope become ao enlightened 
as never more to be deluded into savftge wars, by the mad 
ambition of their nilers. 

13. May the sword be never unsheathed, btit for the 
defence and liberty of our country ; and then may every 
man cast away the scabbard untii the people are safe and 

1 4. To the glorious memory of Hampden and Sydney, 
and other heroes of all ages and nations, who have fought 
and bled for liberty, 

15. To the memory of Dr. Price, and of all those illus- 
trious sageii who have enlightened mankind on Uie true 
prindplea of civil society. 

1«. Peace and good-will to all mankind. 
. Prosperity to the town of Birroingham. 
A happy Meeting to all the Friends of Liberty on 
fhe 14th of July, 1792. 

About eighty gentlemen sat do^\ii to dinner, 
at three o'clock. The room waa appropriately 
decorated^ " with three elegimt emblematiciol 
pieces of sculptuie, mixed with painting, in a 
new style of composition." The centre-piece was 
a ** finely-executed portrait of His Majesty, en- 
drded with a glory," and on either side was an 
alabaster obelisk, — the one representing Gallic 
liberty breaking the bands of despotism, and 
the other British liberty in its present enjoy- 

Meanwhile, their opponents — the Aeti-Jaco- 
|>ina^ — were holding a by no means orderly meetn 
tng at an inn not far from Badley's Hotel,* and 
tlrinking confusion (and something worse) to 
Pdeatlejr and his f ollowe» ; keeping up a con- 

* Affecnnrl«, snd more cummonlf knoiru u 
t.- tiMyla How. 

' Dte*! Boys) 

tinual cry of ** Church and King for ever,*** 
This was to bo the war cry of tho rabble, 
** people," says Hutton, ** who would have sold 
their King for a jug of ale, and demolished the 
Church for a bottle of gin.** 

A spy had obtained admission to the hotol, 
and brought word (referring no doubt to the 
central ornament already mentioned,) ** thni thmj 
had cut off tJie Kin^9 h^d and set it on the 
table/ Whether this was a mere pleasantry, or 
intended to work upon the feelings of the igno* 
rant mob, we cannot say ; but if tho latter, it 
was speedily successful. The crowd had hissed 
and hustled the gentlemen as they went into the 
hotel, and, when the meeting hrdke up, at about 
five o'clock, those who had attended it found 
greater difficulty in returning to their homes. 
The mob re-asaemblcd in larger numbers at about 
eight o'clock, and at once commenced an attack 
upon the hotel, breaking all tho windows and 
damaging most of the furniture in the room in 
which the meeting had been held. They had 
watched the house dnring the whole of tho 
evening, to see if Dr. Priestley came out^ and 
probably their chief object in attacking the Hotel 
.was to fiud him. liut he had not been present 
at the dinner at oil ; ** public assemblages of a 
political or convivial nature,** says Mr. Hawkes 
Smith, **were not the chosen recreation of the 
philosopher and theologian,** And so they 
wreaked their vengeance upon the building in 
wliich the Dissenters had met ; it was in vain 
that the better-disposed among them cried out 
" Don't break Dadley's windows ! he's a Church- 
man 1 '* They had determined upon creating a 
disturbance, and proving their loyal attachment 
to the Church and King. 

Disappointed and foiled in their endeavours 
to find Dr. Priestley, they proceeded to the 

* At ft Municipal dtnnfif Nhorllx tfter Uie RtoU, it whtch Dr. 
Soitiucl PiuT was present^ the toftiit ** Church tiid Klnij^ " Having 
been propotedr tho doctor ImiDediatolf fOM to hin feet aud loudly 
prooltlfflMl hi» dlMwitt ** No, tlr I " Mid b«, **I irlll not dHnk 
tliAt tout. It wu tba BTJ of jMobltM ; It If th« cry of lootti. 
dUrtat, 11 mum « Cburob without Um Oovptl, and « King abo?* 
tba Uv 1 " 

building in which he miniatered, — tbo New 
Meeting House, in Moor Street. The gates aod 
doois were aooB burst open, the pews demolished, 
the cushions and other fittings taken and burnt in 
the open space in front, and they then commenceil 
to demonstrate their ** burning love " upon the 
bnildin^ itsell, and in a very short period left 
nothing but the four blackened outside walls, 
which were of such thickness and solidity as to 
resist the action of the flames. A valmible library 
of theological books, (in the vestry,) belonging 
to tho society, was also destroyed. 

While this scene was taking place in Moor 
Street, a second party of rioters were attacking 
the Old Meeting House ; they tori^ down, with 
crowbars and other implements, the pulpit, pews, 
galleries^ etc., and set fire to them in the burial 
ground. Then, after demolishing portions of the 
bailding, they sot hre to it^ walls, and razed it to 
the ground, so that not a vestige remained Their 
systematic mode of conducting these disgraceful 
proceedings is shown in the fact that they exerted 
themselvea to the utmost to prevent injury to the 
surrounding houses, being determined that only 
the dissenters should suffer^ also, that they had 
prepared a list of the various houses which 
they had detemiined to attack, and included 
those of every known dissenter in the neigh- 

Another party had meanwhile proceeded to 
Newhall Street, and surrounded the newly 
erected Church of the Swedenborgians, with the 
intention of dei^troying it, but were diverted from 
their purpose by the presence of mind of the 
minister, the Rev. Joseph Proud, who lived at the 
house adjoining, A collection had been made in 
the church on tho preceding day, and the minister, 
standing on tho elevated steps in front of his 
house, scattered the money among tho throng of 
would-be incendiaries, telling them that his con- 
gregation were not Unitarians, but that they 
were loyal to the Throne and the Government 
A shout of " tho New Jerusalem for ever " was 
immediately raised, and tho crowd passed on with- 

out injuring either the church or its eourageoos 

A similar incident occurred at the meet^ 
house of Lady Huntingdon's Connexion, in 
Street. Tlie mob had gathered round the bu 
in order to destroy it, when someone amofng i 
cried out, '* Don't bum it, they're good * Chi] 
and King* men." 

Alean while, among those who had de 
the two Meeting'Houses of the Unitarians, tlj 
cry was " To Dr. Prieiilei/^f* 

In a vivid and picturesque narrative of 
riota, written by iliss Russell, (daughter 
WiUiam Hussell, Esq., of Showell Green,) 
read that her father ** went first," on hearing i 
the riots, ** to iJx. Priestley's house, where 
found William Priestley, whom he 
to begin and move all the Doctor's manuscrip 
he thought most likely to be valuable, 
means of persons in the neighbourhood who 
my father had brought for that purpose, and \ 
whom ho could rely, to a jjlaco in the vicinity 1 
had fixed upon as secret and secure. This 
urged him to do as expeditiously and qui*!tly 
possible, and to continue this employ, inclndu 
also any other valuables he recollected, till 
father should send him word to stop, not attend 
to any reports that might be brought him. 

*' My father," continues Sliss Kussell, " th 
rode on to town as far as Digbeth, and the 
meeting tho mob, he tri6d in vain to pn 
He met many of his friends, all of whom 
requested him to return, telling lum he did 
not hear the threats that were uttered against 
him. At length, one of them, I believe Mr. J 

F , suddenly turned his horse, and, giving 

him a cut with his whip, the press was so greati 
and the spirit of the horse so rouisedp my fail 
found himself obliged in a manner to 
Arriving at Dr. Priestley's gate before the 
he stationed himself within-side till the mob 
came up and then addressed them, endearou 
to induce them, by fair words and money, 
desist and return home. At first they seemed ( 

Dr* PnwU^'fi noaae.] 

OLD A:^D new BIBl^roiGRilM. 


little pacified and inclined to listen, till one more 
^ load than the rest^ and who had the appearance 
H of a lingleader, cried out, * Bon^t ttike a sixpence 
H of his tnonex ; ill the riots of '80 in London, a 
^Lfi|lo was hanged for only taking sixpence/ The^^ 
^0B then vociferated, ^ Stone him, stone him 1 ' 

jind began to fling stonea My father then, 
K finding it rashness to brave two or three 
H thousand men, turned his horse and rode up 
H to the house, telling W. P. that he must desist, 
W ajid take as much care of the house as he could, 

■ and advising Mm to make all the doors and 
wiiidows aft secure as possibia He then rode 
off home^^ 

The mob then commenced their attack upon 
the house, ** with the most incredible fury," says 
the Qazdie. They began by breaking down 
the doors and windows, and throwing out the 
fomituiB from every part of the house ; tearing 
and burning all the books and manuscripts in the 

(doctor's librar}% ineluding, among the latter, the 
resnlte of many years of patient research in 
natural philosophy, such as could never be 
reitosed or recovei-ed. As they went from room 
to room throughout the house, in the hope of 
1 finding Dr, Priestley, (who with Mrs. Priestley 
B aod Mr. 3. Ryland had escaped to the residence 
' of Mr. Eussell, at Showell Green, an hour or 
more previously,) they vented their disappoint- 
, meat in curses and imprecations on him, and 
B Tedonbled their fiendish energies in the total 

■ daciolition of his house and property* His 
P valuable library was scattered to the winds, so 

thatf according to an eye-witness, " the highroads 
for full half a mile of the house were strewed 
with books, and that on entering the library there 
was not a dozen volunaes on the shelves, while 

H the floor waa covered several inches deep with the 

B torn manuBcnpts." 

P The shrubs, treee, etc, in the garden were all 
trampleri down or torn up, and the desolate 
appeojnnce of the place was thus rendered 
complete; but there waa still a gleam of hope that 
the Uboratoty, with aU the doctor's valuable 

apparatus, would escape tminjured, as the mob, 
having entered the cellars, had become so 
intoxicated as to be, in most cases, almost sens^ 
less, whilst the remainder had been rendered so 
quarrelsome, by the plentiful draughts of wine 
and ale, that, according to the Gozette report, no 
less tlian nine or ten different battles among 
themselves were at one time being fought in the 
adjoining field. But, after they had spent their 
vinous strength on the inglorious battle-fickl, 
they returned once more to the scene of destruc- 
tion, broke into tbo laboratory, and dL-stroyed the 
whole of the philosophical inatrumonts, which, 
according to the doctor's declaration, were the 
most valuable that any individual in this or any 
other country was ever possessed of. They then 
set fire to the whole building; and in a few hours 
nothing remained of the house, oflices, etc., but 
the bare walls. One man was killed on the spot 
by the falling of a cornice pole. This brought 
Thursday's proceedings to a close ; and most of 
the rioters remained, sleeping, or in a state of 
helpless into3Lieation, in the fields around the 
house until morning. 

We return for a few moments to Miss Russell's 
narrative. After Mr. Russell had returned home 
from Ms interview with the rioters, at Fair Hill, 
he, with his own family and the refugees, walked 
on to Mr, Hawkes's. ** Here,'* says Miss Russell, 
"we found the famUy up, and under great 
apprehension j and here we soon heard the 
shouts of the mob at Br, Priestley's liouae 
(and I shall never forget what dreadful and 
hideous shouts they were), intermingled with 
a loud noise of battering against the walls, 
and such a confusion of cries, huzzas^ i^^c, 
as cannot be imagined. Soon the flamea 
burst forth, and then all seemed quiet What 
were the emotions of our mind at this moment 
no one can imagine, unless they had beheld 
our countenances and heard the broken, short 
sentences that formed all the conversation which 
passed amongst us : yet the extreme agitation of 
OUT minda did not prevent us from admiring the 



[End of TboniUy'tt f 

divine appeamnce of the excellent Dr. Priestley. 
No human being could^ in my opinion, appear 
in any trial more- Kke divine, or show a nearer 
resemblance to our Saviour, Ihan he did then. 
Undaunted he he^ird the blows which were 
destroying the house and laboratory that con- 
tained all his valiiahl© and rare apparatus and 
their eflfects, which it had been tho business of 
his life to collect and use. All this apparatus, 
together with the uses he hu:d made of thern^ the 
laborious exertions of hia whole life, were being 
destroyed by a set of merciless, ignorant, lawless 
banditti, whilst he, tranquil and serene, walked 
up and down the road with a firm yet gentle 
pace that evinced his entire self-possession, and a 
complete self-satisfaction and consciousness which 
rendered him thus firm and resigned under the 
unjust and cruel persecution of his enemies ; and 
with a countenance expressing the highest devo- 
tion, turned as it were from this scene, and 
fixed with pure and calm resignation on 
Him who suffered the administration of this 
bitter cup. Not one hasty or impatient expres- 
sion, not one look expressive of mnrmur or 
complaint, not one tear or sigh escaped him ; 
resignation and a conscious innocence and 
virtue seemed to subdue all these feelings of 

** Al>out four o'clock my father returned and 
informed us that the fire had consumed the 
Doctor's house, the mob were nearly dispersed, 
half dnink, having been up to their ankles in 
wine in hia cellar, where they had broke the 
necks off all the bottles, and inundated the 
cellar with that portion of their contents they 
could not drink — that the fields round were 
now covered with these fiends sleeping from 
drunkenness and fatigue, and that, as day was 
now come^ he thought it most likely they would 

disperse entirely, and that consequently we migt 
return home again. Accordingly we set off, an4 
never shall I forget tho joy with which I entered'^ 
our own gates once more. That our house was 
spared I was grateful beyond measure ; it seemed 
BB an old dear friend restored to life from ft 
dangerous disor^^ler. I rejoiced also because it 
enal>led us to afford an asylum to our eocemplarr 

A hurried letter waa despatched from the town, 
apparently in the morning of each day, to London j 
and^ although, from their having been writt 
in the heat of the strife, they are necossar 
imperfect and inaccurate, they are brief bu 
exceedingly graphic journals of the events 
each day J we cannot therefore do better tha 
summarise each day's proceedings by quot 
these letters; taking care, as far as possible, 
correct their erroni. Un Friday morning tl 
correspondent wrote of the doings on Thursday 
as follows : — 

** Ten o'clock in the Morning. — The meeting lit 
hotel yestordfty, to celtjlirute the French Rerolution, 
not so mimcroasly attended as the friends to it c3C]keotc^ 
Eighty gentlemen only dined »t the hotel, all of who 
departed soon after five o'clock. The inob, that 
began to assenible before, now commenced hoatilities, 1 
breaking all tbo windows of the hotel ; and from th*'no 
they paraded to Dr. Priestley's Meeting House, whic 
they set fire to- Another party, at the same time, set 1 
to the Old Meeting House; luid both these places wert 
80011 burnt to the ground. [The oubfide walls only 
the New Meeting were left standing.] Some adjoinia 
houses took fire by accident, and were also consume 
[All other accounts Rtate that the rioters permitted 
occupiers of all the adjoining houses to extinguish the ' 
fkmeSj and so saved tliem from serious ii^ury,] 

* ' The mob then went to Dr, Priestley's dwellii^ 
house, at Fair Hill, about a mile and a half on this sid 
Hirmingham, which they completely gutted, burnt til 
inside, all his furniture, books, manuscripts, and phitd 
sQphical apparatus, and drank out all his wines, kc They 
are at this minute pulling the next house down. 

** The mob now get valiant, and swear that e^ajj 
Priestley *s man here must emnc down. In ahort, 
whole place ia in the utmotst confuaiotu" 



tTk« •MMmd iUy of tlM iMa.| 



Theroign of terror —Wdliam Hnttoii*a iidTlca — AttAok oo BaskisTTUta Hous»— Bpoclal CoiuiUblrs tworu^Coitflici with tlte i 
Attick on Bordeaky Hall-^WiUiitm Bution'i place of biuliieM uckod— End Of FriiUy^fi |*nH»piUu|sv. 

On Friday morning, as they recovered from the 
fatigue and intoxication of the previous night, dil- 
foi-ent pajlies of the rioters returned into the town, 
to the great consternation of all the Inbabitnuts. 
Busme&8 was totally suspended, and all the shops 
closed ; Tivhile on alniogt eveiy door was I'ljalked 
the Shibholeth of the attacking party, " Church 
and King," — a taiisman which failed not to 
secure fur tlie inhabitants au immunity from 
destruction or injury. 

The doora of the Bridewell and other places of 
continement were thrown open, and the moli, 
joined by this reinforcement from tlie dangeroxts 
clajsses, paraded the streets armed with bludgeons, 
ahonting " Church and King 1 " 

The ailrighted inhabitants ran hither and 
thither for advice, but as yet no active 8tei>8 had 
been taken to quell the riot. In their terror, 
many sought advice of William Hutton, who was 
esteemed for bis sound wbdom by every right- 
thinlting man, " Aa the danger admitted of no 
delay," aays Ilutton, " I gave this short answer, 
— * Apply to the magistrates, and request four 
things : to swear in as many special constables 
as are willing, and arm them ; to ai>ply to the 
commanding oflicer of the recruiting parties for 
his assistance; to apply to Lord Beauchamp to 
call out the militia in the neighbourhood ; and to 
write to the Secretary -at- War for a military force.' 
What became of my four hints is uncertain, but 
the result proved that they were lost.'' 

In the course of the morning the Earl of 
Aylesford arrived at Fail' Hill, (the residence of 
Dr, Priestley,) and harrangued what remained of 
the mob there. He then brought them into the 

town, and endeavouiHi>d to persuade them 
disperse, and i-eturn to their homes and occuj] 
tions ; but it was all in vaim like the wi 
betist who has tasted blood, they were na 
insiUiable. It was in vain that they were told 
thfit having destroyed the meeting house and ti 
home of Dr. PriesUey, "they had time don 
enough 1 " It was in vain that the mag 
and other principfd inhabitants liarrangued tlio 
in St Philip's Churchyard, beseeching them 
desist from violence; they were now mad fq 
rapine and plunder, free from the law, (for as tli 
author of John Haiiftix says, in the naiTative 
the bread riot at Norton Bury Mill* the Ian 
would not, at that time, readily int-erfere on beb 
of dissenters,) and tliey had still a long Ust 
houses which needed to be burnt in houour 
** Church and King/* 

At two o'clock they attacked Daskervillii 
Houses the residence of J, Kyland, Esq. Thij 
was still a pleasantly situated mansion ; it sL 
** in the midst of a luxuriant meatlow/* and ' 
approached by a lino avenue of trees. Other tr 
surrounded it on every side; and, although 
near as to lie almost wlthtn the town, it mu 
have been at that time as fair a residence m anjf 
on which the mod fury of the rioters fell* 

The house which John Baskerville had eret^t 
for himself, and which was oven in its originai 
state a most commodious dwelling, it was now macli 
more spacious and elegant, having been enlaigcni 
and improved by Mr. By land, and was actuallji 
"receiving its last improvements, fi'om the haiidl 
of its unoiiendiiig possessor/' when it was 
attacked by the rioteiH. They wore sevftful timw 

repulsed, aiwi, in one mstiiuiMs, the hoxise was 
entirely clearwd of them, by the mmsBisted arm of 
a single individimL And it must bo reiuetabered 
thftt even the defence of their own property by 
the dissenters waa hedged about with legal 
dlSculties. One gentleman asked " if he might 
arm his dependents ? " The answer was, ** The 
haxttid will be yours." Again, "Whether he 
might cany a braee of pistols in his owu 
defence V' ** If you kiH a man," — ^was the reply 
— ** you must be responsible." And so the attack 
continued. The rioters were strengthened by a 
reinforcement, bringing their number up to nearly 
a thousand ; every room was entered, and in the 
cellar, (where were stored wines to the value of 
three hundred pounds,) they remained, drinking, 
long after the building was fired, — some even until 
the roof fell in. Such a eight, perhaps, has 
seldom been witnessed ; the furious nibble, 
maddened and inflamed with drink, cursing, 
yelling, dying, amid the blazing ruins ; the scene, 
a few honva. previous so fair to look upon, now 
blackened and disfigured in every direction, — a 
aodne of desolation without, a pandemonium 
within the housa Seven persons were burnt to 
death in the cellar, and when dug out of the ruins 
were so mutOated as scarcely to be recognised. 
One poor wretch was buried in one of the 
vaults, and was unable to get out until the 
foUowing Monday, when he expired, soon after 
hi* release, on the grass in front of the house* 
Many were terribly scorched and bruised, and 
were carried away to the hospital 

Meanwhile the magistrates had summoned (by 
the town crier,) the more peaceable inhabitants to 
jneet in St Philip's Churchyard, and commenced 
to twear tn as many of them as were willing, as 
qiecial constables. A large body of tliese were 
immediately despatched to BaskerviUo House, 
wbefe a fierce struggle ensued, the rioters 
attacking them with bludgeons and stones, 
and eoou caosed them to beat a retreat. One 
of ili0 gentlemen who acted as a special con- 
fltabla (Mr. Thomas Ashwin) waa so severely 

wouniled in this fight, that he died shortly 
aftt^r wards. 

At the same time, information having been 
received that another party of rioters had com- 
menced an attack on the house of Mr. John 
Taylor,^ (Bordesley Hall,) a second detachment 
of conatablea, headed by Captain C^arver, repaired 
to the place, and succeeded in driving out the 
rioters, whom they found in the cellar, from the 
premises. Having got possession of the house, 
they kept the lawless mob at bay whtle the title 
deeds, writings, etc., belonging to Isit. Taylor, 
were removed, together with a portion of the 
furniture. But as evening drew near, the 
attacking party were joined by those who Lad just 
left the ruins of Baskerville House, with others, 
and so were enabled to overpower the constables 
by force of numbers. As a last resource, Captain 
Carver offered the mob the immediate payment of 
one hundred guineas, but waa at once met with 
the cry of ** N'o bnberi//'* He immediately threw 
himself int<> the mkht of them, and narrowly 
escaped their fm'y. As the night advanced, the 
flames appeared through the roof, and this fine 
mansion waa in a short time entirely gutted. 

Friday's work of destruction was brought to a 
close by an attack on the house of business of 
William Hiitton, in High Sti'eet. It had been 
attempted several times during the afternoon » 

** About noon," says Hutton, **8ome of my 
friends advised me * to Uike care of my good a, 
for my house must come do\\Ti.* I treated the 
advice as ridiculous, and replied, * That was 
their duty, and the duty of every inhabitant, fur 
my case was theirs ; I had only the power of an 
individuaL Besides, fifty wagons coidd not 
have carried oflF my stock in trade, exclusive of 
the furniture of my house ; and if they could, 
where must I deposit itT I sent, however, a 
small quantity of paper to a neighbour, who 
returned it, and the whole afterwards fell a prey 
to rapine.*' 

* SoQ of the John l^ylor memtioaed tn our dupter of Btrmlng- 
liuii Wortliin. 



[End (it Ftid9f\ I 

It may be asked, why the property of William 
Hntton, a man honoured and esteemed by hia 
feDow-townamen, moderate in hk opinions on all 
subjects, and not a Unitanan^ (for as we have 
previously said, he attended the Independent 
Meeting House in Carr's J>ne,) sliould have been 
singled out for attack 1 Not for his religious or 
political opinions, certainly, but for the part lie 
took as a Commissioner of the Court of Eequeste, 
or, as it was popularly called, the C-ourt of 
Conscience, He says, in hia narrative, ** Some 
gentlemen advised the insurgents assembled in 
New Street to disperse ; when one, whom I well 
knew, said, * Do not disperse, they want to sell 
us. If you will pull down Hui ton's house, I 
will give you two guineas to drink, for it was 
owing to him I lost a cause in the Court/ The 
bargain was struck, and my building fcIL" 

The mob attacked the house three or fotir 
times, and were brought off repeatedly, by William 
Hutton him.HL'lf first, and afterwards by his son 
Thomas. On the fourth attack, however, they 
refused all attempts at conciliation. They entered 
the building, and stripped it of its contents ; the 
different pieces of furniture were hoisted to the 
upper windows, and tlien allowed to fall into the 
street, Ln order to complete their destruction ; and 
those which survived the fall were smashed to 
pieces with bludgeons, by three strong men who 
were stationed below for that purpose. As they 
went about their work of destruction, they shouted, 
'* Dowi with the Court of Conscience ! " ** No 
more ale-scores to be paid ! *' Church and King 
were forgotten bow by the dishonest rogues who 
saw in the riots a grand opportunity of taking 
vengeance upon the man who had compelled 
them to pay their Just debts. 

The rioters completed their work of destruc- 
tion at this house just before daylight^ having 
destroyed or carried away all the furniture, 
the large stock of paper, and a library of 
valuable hooks belonging to Hutton's son Thomas. 
They left the house stripped of its roof, doors, 
chimney-pieces, windows, and window framen, 

and were only deterred from setting ^e t*! 
building itself by the fear of injuring th* 
adjoining it 

The work of Friday, which was bpottgbt to a 
close with this act of vandalL^m^ is thus 
marised by the correspondent quoted at the 
of the last chapter : — 


**FrUiaif, July 15. — TAr^^ o'clock- in th^ Afternoon.-^ 
Since mjlast, the foUo\iing houses hftve been ptdled dofm, 
and the fumitare removed iwd burnt ; riz. : Me«sn. 
Ryland's, (late Baakenrille'a,) Humphreys', and Taylor*! 
All these gentlemen arc dissenters, and men of great pn 
perty. The house of Mr. Hamphreys, which i« near J 
Priestley 'Sf was admired as an elegant atructorc, bat no 
La a heap of ruina. [This is an error ; Mr, Humpkrt\ 
hous9 WOB not destroi/ed until Saturday,] 

** Lard Aylesford come into town this morning, i 
hurrangued the mob. What his Lordship said app 
at first to have a good effect, and they promised Mm 
the ma^trates they would disperse peaceably. They » 
not, however, keep their words;, but inereiLsed in nuiub 
mid bt^came more riotons. We dread the night, \ 
have no military with us. 

** This jnatont a large party of gentlemen, on horseback, 
are going to endeavour to save Mr. Eylaud'i house, or Ids 
furniture ; but it is now known they are too late. 

** Six o^clock in the Eveniivj,— The rioters being divided 
into two parties, and mi?ditatiug the ileatniction of several 
other houses, about three o'clock in the afternoon, coq 
stemation and alarm seemed to have suspersded all oihei 
sensations in the minds of the inhabitants ; busiuess 
given over^ and the shops were all shut up. The inhnh 
tanta were traversing the streets in crowds, not knowin 
what to do, and horror was visible in evei-y coiuite nance. 

" About half- past three the inhabitanti* were summutie 
by the bell -man to assemble in the New Church Yi 
[SL Philip's]. Two magistrates attended in an aAlja 
room, [/A/t Siean Inn^ in Bull Strrd] and swore in itTeT\ 
hundred constables, composed of every deacriptjon 
in habitants, who marched away to disperse the noten 
who were beginning to attack the house of Mr. Huttoivl 
paper merchant, in the High Street. This was eaffOyl 
effected, there being not more than half-a-doacii drtiAkoir| 
iKTetches then a«semhted on the apot« 

"From thenc* they proceeded to disperse the granj 
body, who were employed in the destniction of MaI 
Ky land's house. On entering the walls which mrfonndl 
the house, then aD in a bl&xe, a most dreadful oonfliot-J 
took place, in which it is impossible to asoertain Ui9| 
number of the wounded. The constables were attacker 
with such a shower of stones and brickbats as it was 
possible to resist. The rioters then possessing thems^lvei 
of bludgeons, the constables wore entirely defeated, man/ J 
of thsm being much wounded. One person was killedrf 
but of which party it is not yet known. 

** Eleven o'clock at Night. — ^The mob being now vio»^ 
torioos, and heated witli liquor, everything was dttrnM* 

&1 attempts were made to Aiuuse them, but in vain. 
' exiicted money from the inhabitants ; and at ten 
o'clock at night, they began and soon effected the dcstruc* 
tioD of Mr. Hutton's house, in the High Street, plun- 
deriJig it of all ita property, 

'•Fit)m thecce they proceeded to the wcAt of John 
Taylor, Esq^, baiiker, [Th^sc iwo events are transpoaedj 

tftr Jwti37 (f/ Mr, Tftyhr wa3 aUaeked and tUHroi/tti before 
thai a/ Mr. HutUrn,] Tliere fire hundred pounda \oXl 
other account 5 say one huftdrcd] were ofifered them to 
desist, bat to no purpose, for they immediately set fire to 
that beautiful mansion, which, together with it« superb 
furniture, stables, offices, greenhouse, hot-house, &c., are 
reduced to a heap of mins*" 



Atteck on Hntt<in'i Houm at Wasbwood He*th— Cmtlierlne Hntton*i iwaratiTe— The Magiatmtef at length aroused-- An eairaordUury 
ft^eal — Mr. Humphrey's Hease attaekad— Miu RuMaU's tuUTatire—Other ereots of EinturtUf. 

AfTKR the mob had sxifficiently wieaked their 
Tengeance on Mr. Hutton's place of business, 
tbey set off at early dawn on Saturday morning, 
to his country residence, at Bennett's Hill, 
Waabwood Heath. The story of the attack on 
this house has been so well told by the historian's 
daughter, Catherine, that we cannot do better 
than give her narrative entire^ — the more 
eapdciaJiy aa it has hitherto been known only to 
the members of the family and the select circle 
to whom Mra Franks- Beiile's private reprint of 
the narrative* has found its way. 

The first newa of the proposed attack on 
Mr* Hutton'a house reached hia family on the 
previous morning : Miaa Hutton says ; — 

" On Friday morningt at seven o'clock, when I 
no more expected mischief than if I had been in 
heaven, my mother came into my room and told 
me that the Old and Kew Meeting Houses and 
Th, Prieatley'a houae were burnt to the ground 
I h«a2d it with grief and astonishment, but with- 
oitt any alarm for ourselves, who, I believed, had 
ii^axed no one. My mother added, * Kow they 
a% going to attack the houses of the Dissenters,' 
I «iw in a moment which way her fears pointed, 

* A K«n«iive of the RkoU Ln BLrmingti&tii^ July. 1791. Biriuui^- 
Wm ; (** rnatrtJ for |inviite cintukticm AUioug the doaceodAQti of 
ia«t* wbe iiiff«ie(i izt ihou iron bloui IUdbb . "] S.d . 

and I said, ' They cannot injure us. My father 
was not at the dinner ; and though a Dissenter, 
he is a very moderate man.' * Ah I * said my 
mother, * you forget the Court of Conscience I ' 

**My mother was much alarmed, and I not 
l.>erfectly at ease, though I endeavoured to comfort 
her, tin eleven o'clock, when two men, atrangers 
to us, came to tell us that Mr. Ryland'a house 
was then on lire, that our house was to be the 
next, and that if we pleased, they would assist in 
removing the furniture to a place of safety. It 
was now time to act I employed them to take 
down valences, and take to pieces bedsteadsi 
under the superintendence of my mother; I sent 
my keys to Birmingham by our coachman, with 
orders to the maids there to secure the plate, 
linen, and clothes, and I went myself to the 
houses of three different farmers in the neigh- 
bourhood to request them to receive our goods* 
The first replied, ' Ko, Tve no room here.' The 
second said, *Aye, yo may send 'em/ But a 
third joining us, and saying, ♦But don't you 
think you bayn't in no danger yourself if you 
take 'em in?' the friendly neighbour said, 'Why, 
aye, I dayn*t think o' that; yu moan't send *em,' 
It then ^rst occurred to me that I was a humble 
suppliant Till now, I had imagined that anyotii 


OLD AND N£W BIRMINGHAM. [Hatton-^ HonBe at Washwood H«ith. 

who was not of the mob himself, would cheer- 
fully assist us to escape the depredations of the 
mob. The next man to whom I applied allowed 
me to fill his house and bam. 

"We now repaired each to his post. My 
mother sent different aiticles of furniture; Ann 

C , our maid servant, and our two assistants 

carried them, and I received them, till our neigh- 
bour would take no more, and I returned home. 
I now packed up china as fast as two persons 
could give me the different pieces, and pieces of 
paper to put between them. My mother's sister, 
my uncle's wife, and a female neighbour, having 
heard of the misfortune which hung over our 
heads, came to tender their services, and the 
latter took some of our property, so that when 
our coachman returned, and I ordered him to 
drive the carriage to the inn at Castle Bromwich, 
there was nothing left to put in it except a carpet 
and some tins and coppers. 

** A farmer's wife, who lived at the distance of 
a mile and a half, dressed herself in her holiday 
clothes, and came in her dung cart, with a party 
of her friends, to enjoy the spectacle of a hous>5 
in a blaze, and appeared in some confusion when 
she found we were yet in possession of it, and she 
was obliged to explain the motive of her visit. 

"A sudden panic now seized our neighbour, 
and he insisted upon our furniture being taken 
out of his house. My father, finding liimself 
unable to secure our house at Birmingham, came 
to us accompanied by ten men, determined to 
defend this, and the first service they were 
employed in was to bring back the goods. Ex- 
hausted by fatigue, disappointment, and fasting, 
we sat down in despair, and consigned our furni- 
ture to the fate of our house. 

" A hackney coach, which had been sent for, 
now stood at our gate ; my mother and my aunt 
got into it ; I spread a sheet on the floor, and 
having thrown into it such of my mother's clothes 
at were next me, I carried it in my hand and * 
followed. Our maid and a woman who had two 
days' employment at our house every week, both 

exceedingly drunk, attended at the coach door, 
with a hypocritical whine. The maid returned 
like the dog, to her vomit ; the woman to plunder. 
A search warrant has since found our new carpet 
hidden under her bed, and some earthenware and 
kettles in her cottage. I might here add that our 
coachman, by whom I had sent the keys to Bir- 
mingham, never delivered them, and stood by 
while the maids there broke open the drawers, 
though he had the keys in his pocket 

" Our day had not been distinguished by the 
common divisions of dinner-time and tea-tim& 
We had known no hour ; we had tasted no food ; 
I was suri)rised when I saw the sun near its 
setting, and it was nine o'clock when we arrived 
at the house of my aunt's son, with whom she 
lives. There we tried to eat, and could not 

" From hence we despatched a messenger into 
High Street, to bring us tidings of the state of 
our house. These were that the doors were fast, 
the windows were broken, and a mob was assem- 
bled before it, who said that they would not bum 
the house on account of the adjoining houses. 
Our next intelligence was, that a panel of the 
door was broken ; and the next that the mob had 
entered ; paper was being thrown out of the 
drawing-room windows ; and women were carry- 
ing out aprons' full of our property. This was a 
dreadful moment indeed. I thought I should 
sink upon the floor ; but I recollected that I had 
a mother, and, instead of giving way to despair, 
I ran to comfort her. 

" At one o'clock in the morning we were joined 
by my father and my brother. My father's men 
had become intoxicated and refractory, and he 
had been obliged to abandon the house at 
Bennett's Hill. Between three and four o'clock 
we all retired to bed, but not to sleep. Between 
five and six my aunt came into the room in which 
my mother and I were lying, and told us that she 
had been in High Street, where the mob were 
still employed; that drawers, waTdrobee, and 
clothes were being thrown out of the windows^ 
and (prints being trampled in the Btreet She 

9 of Bttttu&'t Pam%.) 



tliat my father's life was thi-oatonod, I 
instantly and went intii hk room, when I 
»ancl him dressed and ait ting on a cliair. I told 
im what T had he^rd, and begged he would let 
Se order a post chaise to take us to Sutton, a 
Diall town about sevon niile^i distant, for I had 
iow only one object in view, which was to save 
Biy fatlien With great difficulty he consented, 
id at seven o^cknik, Le, my mother, and myself, 
seated in the diaise. We placed ouiselvea 
much as possible before my father, and en- 
voured to hide him m if he were flying from 
ice, while he wa« most indignant. *Whatj* 
id he, * have I been giving my time and my best 
ices to the town, without fee or reward, to 
tilk from it like a malefactor I Let me go and 

le mob, and aet them at defiance I * 

'^Our prayers and entreaties, in some measure, 

limed my father, and we breakfasted at the 

tree Tuns, at Sutton, not having eaten anything 

face break fa.<t the day before. After breakfast I 

it out lodging bunting, and I engaged, at a 

Htchers, a parlour, just decent, and a bedroom 

tr from it — being open to the stairs and rc»of, 

id containing two tattered, moth-eaten stufl' 

Is, I then went to purchsiae musHu for a 

UUcap, otherwiae my pocket handkerchief muat 

boon the substitute, as it had been the night 

I now seated myself with my father and 

ither, and we reflected more at leisure on our 


In the early part of the evening my brother 

seen a mob advancing to attack our house in 

ingham, and he had gone out to meet them, 

en a bludgeon was raised to knock him down, 

4 he woidd probably have been killed had not 

Imtcher arrested the uplifted arm, and cried, 

n you, don't you know he's Church and 

iigf I went to school with him !' My brother 

m ttprrjscnted to the people that they niight he 

icli more worthily employed in rescuing the 

Dperty of Mr. Taylor, of Bordcslcy, whose house 

then beset by another fwuty of rioters, than 

dettTtiyingJthe hou£i» belonging to him 

never ofl'ended them. Mob as they were, for a 
moment they listened to reastju, and from their 
intended victim, vaj brother became their hero. 
They placed him at their head, and with a fiddle 
playing before him, they marched to Bordcsley; 
but the moment they saw their ftllow-mob 
engaged in the fascinating work of destruc- 
tion, they deserted their leader, and Joined the 

" My brother employed and assisted some spec- 
tators of a better sort to deposit Mr* Taylor's 
property in the neighbouring houses, till they 
would take no more ; he then i-e turned, alone, 
towards our house in Birmingham. In a short 
time he saw Hying feather's, but whetlier from our 
beds he knew not ; in iJigbeth ho saw one of our 
drawing-room chairs, which put the matter out of 
doubt. At the door of Mr. CarlcRS, a respectable 
druggist, who lives near our house, he saw a 
bundle of wTiting paper, worth about five pounds, 
standing in the street. He took it up, and re- 
quested Mr. Carlesa to allow him to deposit it in 
his bouse, Tliis ^Ir. Carless refused ; and the 
paper was left in the street and destroyed. Ex- 
hausted with fatigutj and thirst, my brother heggc«i 
for a draught of water, and this Mr. Carless also 
refused. My brother's last refjuest— and I wonder 
how he had the courage to make it — ^was for leave 
to pass through Mr, Carless*s house, in order to 
avoid the rioters assembled before ours ; this was, 
of course, refused, and my brother happily made 
his way through the mob undiscovered, while 
they were throwing furniture from the windows 
into the street He now joined us, at twelve 
oV'lock, at Sutton, Ho told us that the destruc- 
tion of our house at Birnvingham was completed, 
hut that the neighbours had prevented its being 
set on fire, for fear of injury to themselves ; that 
a party of rioters had attacked the house at 
Bennett's Hill at four o^clock in the morning, and 
my unde had prevailed upon them to desist, by 
giving them ale at the village ; that another party 
had a}>peai*ed at seven o'clock, and had reduced 
the whole of the buildingfl to ashes. He added 


OLD AND NEW BIRMmGHAM. mmm^kmrt'miAi 

a*t 0A 

that it was uo longer safe for Mm to remain m 

" The mischief was now completed, and we en- 
couraged each other to bear it. I had lost all I 
had collected, all that I had possessed ; but 1 
looked round me and saw my father^ mother, and 
brother, and I was linK I had been drlveJi from 
two good homes ; but I saw, in imagination, my 
mother and myself settled in our humble lodg- 
ings, my father visiting iie every week, my brother 
occasionally, and I was content" 

Another party, later in the morning, attficked 
the house of Mr. George Humphreys^ at Spark- 
brook, where the riotenj were kept off for some 
time, but they at length entered and ransacked it, 
but did not bum it. 

Meanwhile the magistrates, brought at length 
to see the danger to the town in general of the 
riots continuing any longer, isaued, on Saturday 
morning, the following address : — 

Binningham, Jtijy 16th. 1791.— JVi>w/i« and Fdlmf}- 
Connfrffmen^ — It is earnestly requested that every True 
Friend to the Church of England, mid to the Lawa of hia 
Country, will rt'flf?ct how mu« h a continuance of the 
Present Procceding§ roast injure that f'hnreh and that 
King they are intended to au|iiK>rt ; and how highly 
Tnlawful it ie to destroy the Rights and ProjMjrty of uny 
of our Noighbonrs. And all True Friendg to the Town 
■ad Trade of Birmingham, in particuar, arc In treated 
to Forbear immediately from all Riotous and Violent 
Proceedings ; dispemng and returning peaceably to their 
Trnd<?s and Callings, as the only Way to do Credit to 
themselves and their Cause, and to promote the Peace* 
Happineiiar and Prosperity of this Great and Flourishing 

The " Tme Frienda to the Church of England 
and to the Laws of their Countr}^ " did not, 
howeverj regard this extraordinary entreaty to 
" do credit to themselves" by " letuming peace- 
ably to their trades and callings," but proceeded 
at once from ^Ir. Iluiiiplireys* to Sbowell Green, 
the residence of Mr, William KusselL 

The newB of the intended attack upon their 
house had reached the Ruseell family on the first 
night of the riota. "On that evening/' — says 
Miflfl Russell, in the narrative previoualy refeiTod 
tO| — "we walked up and down the foot-road 

leading to town in a dreadful fltat^ of &usp 
and appreljension, clcurly discerning the Erie ] 
the two Meeting-houses, and diBtincUy hearing 
the abouts of the mob. At 1* ^ dftter and 

I (our fears every minute sti .„: . ng) alj|i 
awajt and, hastily [Hitting all our plate intol 
trunk without even lucking the trunk, beeatliiej 
our haste we could not tind the key, aeai il | 
two of our servants to a neighbours.'* 

We have already told^ (from Miaa fiu&sell's 
narrative) how they watched the burning of 
Dr. Prie&tley^s house, and how, when that was 
over, and the rioters were believed to have 
diepereed, they returned to their homi^ rejoic 
that it was spared, and that they were 
enabled to oiler a shelter to Dr. and Mna. Friestl^ 

**0n entering that house,*' continues 
Russell, ** thas so inexi>re8§ibly and strong 
endeared to us, we l>egan to think of rest 
room was prepared for the Doctor and Mn. 
We all lonke<l nnd felt all gratitude ; but 
Doctor appeared the happiest amongst us. Jn 
as he was going to rest, expreBstng his tha 
fulness in being permitted to he down again ; 
peace and comfort, my father retimed from ¥d 
Hill, and brought the sad intelligence that th^ 
were collecting again, and their tliteata wei 
more violent than ever — that they swore t^ find ] 
P» and take his life. The chaise was noH 
ordered with all speed, and instead of th« 
much-desired rest, the Doctor and Mrai P. vert 
obliged to dress again and get into it, scarecljj 

knowing wMther to go, Mr* R [RyL 

accompanied them, and it was thought mo*t 
advisable to take a by-road to Heath, whafl 
Mi^, Finch, the Doctor*s daughter, lived, nu^ 
Dudley. Thus suddenly were our piofpoclj 
changed t We now set to packing our bodi 
furniture of all sorts, and clotheBi d:c. Th 
neighbourhood had by thia tuna become 
alarmed for ua, and our poor neighbours for" 
miles round were coming ail th^:mgh the daf« 
requesting to assist us in packiog, and to cmf 
some of our things to their cottages^ in order to 



{Ulm RiiMttll'ft Xftfniti«t. 

flecTire them for U3» Our house was lilletl witli 
people from top to bottom, some packing one 
thing, some another; aorae hiding things about 
our own promises, others taking them to a bam 
fixed upon as a place of eafoty and secresy, 
and others again to their own ho ma**, and thus 
endangering theniselTes by ft risk of their being 
«lis< overed, an<l sulferingj in c!on^quence, from tlie 
blind fury nf the mob. These honest cretttures 
bemdled our haixl and undeserved lot much 
more than wo did ourselves, tliough they did 
nut fiL*cil it 80 mueh ; and all of them voluntarily 
laboured and exerted themselves as much as if 
their own lives dejiended upon the saving our 
goods. By ten o'clock our house was nearly 
stripped, and its furuituro scattered about the 

co^intry. AVe now ran ovar to Mrs, B % 

there took brmth a little, and at her rt?qtiest 
some refreshment, and her affectionate solicitude 
Ciiused us the relief and luxuiy of shedding te^rs, 
wbich agitation, hurry, and fatigue had hitherto 
prevented. Soon, however, did we return home, 
desirous to remain there as long as posssible. 
Parties of the mob were constantly coming to 
the gates, but persons were stationed there to 
appea.'se and send them awa}^ We now heard 
timt they were gone through the town to Mr. 

J R^ 's [Ryland, Easy Hill], and this 

again gave us hope that our house j night be 
spared ; but my father much urged my brother, 
sister, and me to leave, and recommended our 
going to a neighbours, who lived in a retired 
spot about half a mile olll He wished himself 
to remain at the house as long as possible. 
Accordingly, wo loaded ourselves with cold 
meat, pies, &c., and set off, intending to take 
up our quarters there till all was over, thinking 
we Hhould bo near to hear how tilings went, and 
could profit by circumstances as they arosa As 
we passed across the fields we were alarmed by 
parties of men in their shirt sleeves, without 
hats, all half drunk ; they were breaking tlie 
boughs from the trees and hedges, shouting, 
laughing, swearing, and singing in a manner 

that seemed hideous beyond expression. jUterl 
much alarm and frequently hiding ourselves j 
behind the hedges and trees, we at lengUi amv 
at the place of our destination. We found otif| 

good neighbour Mrs. G, very ready to receivg 

ns^ though we haii never boen upon anytli 
of a sociable footing with her. Her houf^o was &1 
superior sort nf cottage, and here we hoped to findj 
an asylum till the storm was overblown. Myl 
father came and dined with tia; he seemed full of 
hope that our house woidd escape, but was morl 
dL* tressed at not being able to get any comuiUniJ 
cation with his friends at Binninghura.. Hn had 
sent several notes lo my uncle ami other frienda 
as well as to the magistrates, but could get nd 
answer. After dinner he went to town himscifj 
having left the necessary directions for protecting 
the houss ; in the evening he rcturne*! to ua,"^ 
mtich hurt at the behaviour of the magistrate 
and told m he could no longer think us saf^ 
there, but wished ua to go to the house of B- 

C [B. Cox, at Warstock], an old servant^ 

who lived about five miles off, situate in a very 
obscure place ; and as no time was to be lost| hd 
requested we would sot out on foot, whilst bfl{ 
went home and sent the coach after us ; for tljen 
aU our servants remained lo take what care the^ 
could of what was left. Now the f emalea j&U le 
it, the cook excepted, who remained to the ! 
and showed a degree of courage and spirit 
astonished all who saw it. Walking up tb 

common, wo passed Mr- A 's, [And«rtoQ 

Moaeiey Wake Green], n neighbour with whoa 
we had been upon friendly terms, but who was < 
the Church-and-King party, and had refused 1 
shelter a wagondoad of our goods in his ban 
saying, he did not choose to risk his bam to sav 
them ; thus letting his poor illiterate neigbbou 
outdo him in re^ friendship itnd charity. As w< 
passed, he, with Mrs. A., &a» woro on Uie lawq 
and they had the assurance to accont tts 
express sorrow for our trouble. We receivtid thel 
compliment with coolness, and pursued our wa| 
The carriage overtook us when we hod pr 

I RtiM«ll*a srirrvtlre | 



ftbout two milee, and my father with it The 
erening was far advanced when' we arrived at 

K C. 'a, and on alighting we found even tliis 

obsctim farm-hotiae had been threatened, because 
iiwm had been throtigh the summer scmietliing of 
H Han«iay evening*a lecture held there» and alsu 
becanstj it was reported some of our goods were 
eoUectetl here. It was true, that two wagon 
Ioad« liad been sent* but they had been removi'd 
further up tbe country. The carriage was left 
here ; tbe eoaehmau returned on one of the horses, 
B. C. on the other — the former to strengtlM^n 
guard at our hounei the latt**r to return in ii 
short time and bring ua information of the state 
of things. Mrs. C, formerly a servant iu our 
family, as well as her husband, wa3 sincerely 
rejoiced to see ud, and to have her house afford u^ 
an asylum. We took possedsion of an inner 
jiarlour, and minint to remain there concealed 
from any ticjgb hours who might enter. A faithful 
iJtilL* dog, who liad accompanied us almost with- 
out our kn<iwledg<\ se<^mod to bo sensible of our 
plan, for ht^ fiUitionod himself at tins parlour duor 
abnoAt lu soon ns we entered it, and when any 
jierson ctimu near barked most violently j he soon 
got familiar with the different members of the 
family, and would suffer them to pass and repa^v-j 
qiuetly, but was really furious if any stranger 
entered the house and approached at all near the 
door; and this he continued all the time we 
nsmained here. At one o'clock in the morning 
B, C returned, but the account he brought only 
increased our fears; the natter seemed to be 
without tsnd, Mr, Ry laud's house was guttal and 
set (ire t#j ; also Mr Button's [historian of BiF- 
mingham], and the mob were then at Mr. Taylor's 
[Bordesley Hall], where they were committing 
thc> most inliuman deptedatioiis. ^fy father now 
tllQQgbi it right to go again himself and try if the 
mgistrmlea oould not by some means be persuaded 
to set We did what we could to dissuade him 
frfwn it, not now fearing for anything so much as 
bis sailnty, azid ns there is na answering for %hp. 
fmj of m Biobv and some envious, malicious spirits 

had, we knew, spared no pains to inflame them 
against my father, our apprehensions for him 
when absent from us were cruel, for we were well 
aware that his active and bold daring spirit might 
lefi<l him into danger before he was sensible of it 
This wo represented to him, and urged liinj as 
much fls we could to remain in safety with us, but 
all iu vain ; go he wouhl, promising to return 
soon. We did not think of going to bed, or even 
taking off our clothes, through the night, tlkiugh 
this was the second we had passed in this stale. 
To think of sleep or quiet was impossible in oUr 
state of mind, and all about us in the same state 
of agitation with ourselves. Things had gone so 
far, and werfT come to such a heigh t^ that the 
gonoral security seemed in danger, pillage appeared 
the onler of the day, and all parties now most 
likely would be involved* There was continual 
coming and going to this house, and we were 
tf>rmented by a thousand reports, all mid, all 
distressing; which of them to believe we could 
not divine, and therefore suffei^d more or less 
from them all. 

"The next morning, Saturday, about ten oVloek, 

our friend and neighbour Sarah 8 [Mnk John 

Kyland] came on foot and alune ; she had left her 
brother and sister with their cliildren at a house 
on the common, and strolleil hither hei-self for 
want of accommodation there. Mr. H* had left 
his house, having lieard it was on the list of those 
to be pulled down. From 8, S. [S. Smith] we 
heanl many sad reports; the town and country 
was all under the greatest alarm, and all onler 
and subonlination seemed at an end. We receive*! 
every now and then accounts that parties of ttte 
mob were on the road ; sometimes they were said 
to be very near, coming to demolish the house we 
were in ; at others they were going to Kings wood 
Meeting-house, about two miles from us* About 
twelve o'clock in ths day poor Mrs, H, [Hobsonl 
came^ such a picture of fatigue and distress as I 
never saw before — a delicate little woman, without 
hat or doak, in her nightcap, with a child on one 
arm and a large bundle under the other ; she came 



miM Hiiswir» NftmUv*. 

in almost breathless, threvir bersBlf on a cliair and 
nearly famtod. It wiis a long time before she 
could speak ; at length we loanied from her that 
Mr. IL [Kov. Mr. Hobson, niinbter of Kingswond 
Mecting'housc] had gone off in disguise, and that 
she hurried from her house, having had infor- 
mation that the mob were very near. It waa now 
near twelve hours since my father had left us. 
This was, sure, the longest morning I ever knew ; 
we were strolling about the fields, listening to 
every sound that rose upon our ears, and with all 
the anxiety imaginable eyeing every person who 
appeared ; and every noise wo heard, every 
creature wo saw, gave rise to a thousand thoughts 
and surmises. About one o'clock Mr. T^ L — *8 
[T. Le^, attorney] family arrived ; they fled here 
for siifety, and brought, like nil others, the 
most alamiing accountii. 

** About two o'clock, to our in expressible joy, my 
father returned, but so changed by fatigue and alarm 
that bis countenance was not at all like the same, 
lie had been at Birmingliam, trying to rouse the 
magistrates to exertion, and had met with such 
indilTerence from t bom as in tlie present state of 
thinga seemed almost iiicrodible and quite un- 
natural. His friends wore all dispemed, he 
could find none of them^ a general panic had 
scattered tliem, and nothing was to be dune but 
to submit Having been thus disap pointed at 
Birmingham, and finding it was impossible for 
him alone to do any things he had returned home 
again, and remained there defending the house 
against parties of the mob who were continually 
coming to assault it, till, after liaving long d is- 
regarded the urgent entreaties of the servants and 
the friends there to leave, from their lively appi^- 
hemions for hi*^ safety, he waa obliged to yield 
to them on receiving a message from a very 
respectable gentleman of the other party, who 
sent a friend privately to request of my father, if 
he valued his life, to quit his house and secrete 
himself, for the fury of the mob had become quite 
ungovernable. Ho now, therefore, thought it his 
duty to resign his premises to their fate, and save 

himself. About seven o'cloik m nie evening, we i 
perceived a cdoud of smoke arise from that quarter I 
which almost amounted to a certainty with us 
be our house in flamea Henc6f we snppoeevl 
sprung the reason of the coachman's delAV. NowJ 
a sort of melancholy filled our bosoms, hithorto| 
torn by lively and different apprehension*. To 
contemplate the awful cfdumns of smoke ascendJ 
ing from that beloved mansion whore 1 ImiJ 
passed all my days in a calm, vircuoiiis and 
happy tranquillity, where all my pleasure seeme^ 
to centre, and where alone I felt as if happinta 
could be tasted, pierced me to the aoal ; 
seemed as if a dear friend was expiring before m« 
in whom my happiness centred. My whole souli 
was moved and distreesocj, but the luxury 
tears was denied : spent and exhausted, my fi^ 
ings, though not violent, were acute and quiet 

In this state we continued, hioking towa 
the smoke, and wandering up and down th 
garden, till tea o'clock, till all of a sudden tli 
drfvidfid shouts of the mob assailed our eara, and 
almost at the same instant two women camij 
running as if for their lives, and quite out o(| 
breath ; they begged us for C)od*s sake to 
away, for that the mob were coming, they would 
be there immediately, and their fury was 
governable. Svich a scene of confusion noi! 
followeri as cannot be told ; all ran about a;* 
not knowing what to do or where to go ; thefl 
were seven or eight young children [among whoB 
one waa T. Eyre Lee, attorney, Birmingham] int 
house ; some were wrui»ped up in blankeis, otheu 
taken from tlieir boda as they were ; all ran OQ 
of the house, but knew not whither to turn the 

•* We arrived safe at Mr. G 's [Gmivee] 

and lie not being arrived with the chaise, wi> tool 
some refreshment offered us by the good ladj 
and at her earnest re^^uest went up stairs to gel i 
little repose, Hvr^ a curious scents pri!S«il< 
itself : we three Wlies were shown into a nwij 
with four beds in all, and all but one, whet! 
occupied by men or women we did not know ; 




mt thti loud nnaal concert, an*\ the different notes 

t which it was cotupodo<l, seeme«l to indicate 

lotit We woro amused at our situation, and 

islt sufficiently at ease to laugh at it. We lay 

[own upon tlio bed, and our faithful little dog 

ly the *ide ; but the room was suflfocatingly hot, 

,nd the number of persons in it made the air 

ery oppressive ; this, together with the mu^io 

hat assailed our ears^ anil a nitx^t numerous 

twarm of fleHs, which attackc^i us all, kepi rest 

il even nuiet at a distance/' 

From the huuBe of Mr. William KilsscU tlie 

ii»tt*r8 went to those of ^Ir. Thomas Uussell and 

Ir. H«wke-», at ^[oeeley Wake Gr«en. Theae 

ipy attacked and plundered, but did not Inirn 

hem. They next repatreil to Moselej Hidi, the 

iroptsrty of Mr. John Taylor, where resided the 

blind and inHrni Ludy Carliampton, th»^ mother 

Hf the Duchess of Cumberland. One would have 

mpposud that even the hard hearts of the lawless 

nob would have been softend in the presence of 

In inlirm and aged lady, allied moreover to the 

Ihrone th<Ly profe^ed to honour; but slie lived 

a a house belonging to a Dissenter, and, thore- 

fore, blind and enfeebled with age though she 

ira«, 8h<i mui*t at once leave the place, to escape 

Ibntestntion, Tho only favour shown to her by 

Jift rioter* wa« to permit her furniture to be 

removed from t)»e house previous to their attack ; 

|lid» wh^n this was done, (Lady Carhampton 

bring boen conveyed by l^ir Robert Lawley to 

Cfinvvcll) the hall wns sot fire to, together with 

l« orticej*, dtables^ and hay -stacks. At the same 

hne ftttAcks weitJ niatle upon tlie hoose of Mr. 

J^rwood, not very far distant, and that of the 

lev. Mn HolisoH, a Dissenting minister, on the 

itcMiefey Roa<l, and the thi-ee bvtiidings were all 

dozing at tlie same time. 

" The terrtjr and distress," sa)'8 the Oazeffe, 
'wtiteh ptrvadfd the whole town on Saturday, 
rliiio ihejsrt drendful secues were acting, will be 
Btt<?r ccmceived than doicribed. The magistrates 
led every means of jjersuasion, to no effect j 
tills were stuc^k up, retj^uesting all persons 

to return to their respective homos, to no purpose. 
Nothing certain was known respecting the 
approach of the military, ami numbers of tlie 
rioters, now joined by thieves and drunken pros- 
titutes, from evcTj (quarter, were, with blue 
cockades in their huts, in all parts of the town, 
and in small bodies, levying contributions on the 
inhabitants. There was scarcely a housekeeper 
that dared refuse them meat, drink, money, or 
whatever they demanded. The sliops were mostly 
shut, busineiis nearly at a stand, and everybody 
employed in secreting or nsmoving their valuables. 
Very hapi>ily, however, the body of the rioter>, 
overcome with litjuor and fntigup, lay fill the night 
in the fields, rnuiid their confliignitions in \hi* 
country, and did not come into the town.** 

We conclude the narrative of this day's 
proceeding:^, as in pitjvious cases, with the old 
correspond lent 'a siunmar}* :-- 

**/?i>»i»«{^A-rfm, SfUurdaift July 10, — In tho forenoon, 
the following h:ind»bill w«8 difitributt'd : [The hand-bill 
oireenly ^pioti^d on fui^^r! 238.] 

'* Tw'*hr o'c/(M*k al Xoon. — The hnmldiill Ims not pro- 
liwred tlie .salutary tsllVcU wlnrh were nisli<*tl. 

"This moment Mi\ Hntton's <'ouiitry lion&p, about t\v(v 
mih'j* iVom Biruiingliaiii, is on fire, rruvtmrtl di^spoml- 
cncy haa lukeii iibice, l^ef»]»ltf of all prort'sskms are 
moving tlieir goods, »ome to places of priv-ate secnritVt 
otbera into the country. Plander is now the motive of 
the riot era- No inilUary /oree is nearer than Derby, biuI 
nothing bat military f&rce can now anppn?ss them, 

**^ Eight o'clock in (h€ £f^ning.—Thci rioters iirc now 
demolishing the l>t:autiful house of Mr. George Hanijib- 
reys, and thnt of William Ru«sell, Enq., a litth* ftirthor 
on in the Oxford mad. The shops are still ke^t .sJiut irp, 
and no inilitnty are yet arrived. Dreotlfdl deprcflatiom 
are expected in the course of this night! The renirtiri^ 
of several i^onr wretches* who had got drnnk» and wvrt^ 
burnt to d^ath in Mr. Ry land's cellar, have been i\u>^ 
out ; one **o aineh burnt, that h** was recognized only by 
the buckle in one of hia shoes. What could be collect^ rl 
of his remains have been just taken away in a ba«ker. 
Another has been biom^ht fi-om tlie niina of Dr. Priestley** 
house, who is supiios^d to have Iteeu kdled by a fall of 
home of the buildings. 

•*The people who demoltMlied Mr. Humphrt^v's house, 
laboured, iu as cool and orderly a manner as if they IiimI 
been employed by the owner at so much per day." 

Writinjjf on Sunday morning, he thug concludes 
the summary of Saturday's proceedings : 
** Last night the people of Birraiugham were tTemlUng 



[The fourth day of the xioti. 

spectators of the tremendous conflagration of Mosley Hall, 
the property of John Taylor, Esq., but in the occupation 
of Lady Carhampton. 

"Fortunately Lady Carhampton, who is blind, was 
removed to a place of safety, by Sir Robert Lawky, who 
took her in his own carriage to Canwell. 

" About two this morning a most awful scene presented 
itself ! Four dreadful fires within a mile of each other ! 
It is certain that the house of William Russell, Esq., and 
that of Mr. Hawks of Mosley, have shar'd the fate of 
Mosley HaU." 

Another account of the state of the town at 
eight o'clock on Friday evening says : 

** A gentleman who left Birmingham at the above hour, 
for the purpose of coming to town, mentioned, tliat the 
mob was increasing every hour ; and that all the houses 
above-mentioned were entii-ely destroyed. Many of the 

mob had fallen a sacrifice to their own misconduct ; near 
twenty of them, quite drunk, were buried under the ruins 
of a house by the walls falling in. One poor wretch was 
found with his legs burnt off, and a bottle of spirits or 
wine in each pocket. 

** A great number of the mob were lying in a state of 
the most insensible drunkenness on the green, and in 
other places near where they committed their depredations. 

** Several houses were at this time marked out for 
destruction ; no opposition whatever was made to these 
riots. The town's people seemed to be so panick-struck, 
as to be capable of no exertion. An officer in Bir- 
mingham, offered to lead any number of the inhabitants, 
and endeavour to repel the mob, but could not prevail 
upon them to make the attempt. 

" No troops had arrived. The mob detained the mail- 
coach a full hour, but permitted it then to depart un- 
molested. Such was the state of Birmingham at that 



William Hutton'i return to Birmingham- -Drunken rioters— La<ly Carhampton's furniture— Ruins at Bennefs Hill— Second Ad«ire« from 
the Magistrates— Kingswoo^l Meetinjf-Uouse «lestroyed— Mr. Cox's house at Wharstock -Edgbastou Hall — Arrival of the Military- 
End of the Riot«. 

Thb narrative of the Ilutton family, quoted iu 
our last chapter, left the refugees at Sutton 
Coldfield, on the third day of the riots, Satur- 
day. It was not long, however, before the panic 
i-cached the little town, and once more the 
Iluttons were looked upon with distrust ; so 
that it was thought desirable to continue theu* 
flight. Night found them, however, resting 
(piietly at the Castle Inn, Tamworth, where, 
although they fared frugally, they were unable 
to discharge their bill. 

"On Sunday morning," Miss Hutton writes, 
" my father was become quite ungoverna])le. 
He said it was madness to be at such a distance 
from the wreck of his property, while we thought 
it little less that he should expose his person ; 
but, as we could not detain him, we resolved 
to go with him. We crossed the country to 
Castle Bromwich, by a road which never chaise 
went before^ and of which we walked nearly a 

mile, and the first object that met our eye5 was 
our coachman lolling at the door of the iim, and 
exhibiting, by his livery, a sign that either we 
or soiiietliing belonging to us was sheltered there. 

" Here we dined in a bed room, and spoke in 
whisi)ers. When wu had dined, no argmnents 
or entreaties could deter my father from going to 
see tlie remains of his house at 1 Bennett's Hill, 
which was little more than three miles distant, 
and on the road to Birmingham, and my brother, 
seeing him determined, accompanied him." 

What Mr. Ilutton saw during this journey 
into town may be best descrilnMi in his own 
words : 

*' As the storm in Birmingham," he says, "was 
too violent to last, it seemed prudent to be near 
the place, that I might embrace the first oppor 
tunity of protecting the wreck of a shattered 
fortune. We moved to Castle Bromwich. 

" Banting, roaring, drinking, bamin^ is a Ufo 

mtttm to BiruUiiKhaiu.] 



[of loo rotich rapidity for the huiuaD fnime to 

aupport* Our black sovereigns hiid now he 14 it 

ne^rij tlu'ee day^ tmtl niglits, when nature called 

for re»tj and the bright morning displayed the 

fields, roadsi and hed^e^, liiiiid with fHfmfh and 

UfTotht^r Chnrchinen dead drunk. Thei^e were, 

[however, enongh awake In kindle new fires. . , . 

** I could not nefriiin from j^^nng to take a view 

[of my houso at lipnnett's Hill, flliovr tlirec miles 

Idktnnt from Castle llroniwivh. Ui>on \Vnahwo^M^ 

[H**ath I met four wagonii, loaded with l^dy 

Carhamplun':* furniture, attended by a body uf 

motel's, with their UBUal arms, as prc^tectors.* I 

kI through the midst of them, was known^ 

ftikd inaulted, but kept a suit en silence. The 

stupid duucea vociff-ratedj * No popery I Down 

1 with the pope ! " forgetting that Presbyterians 

I were never remarkable for favouring the religion 

[of that potentate. In this instance, bowover, 

llL«y were ignumntlj right; for 1 consider myself 

ttrue friimrl to the Roman Catholic, and to every 

jtefi^eafjle profession, hut not to the f<piritual 

I power of any ; for this, iuHteud of bumunizing 

I the mind, and drawing the aifections of one man 

[towards another, has bound the world in fetters, 

land set at voriance those who were friends. 

** I saw the ruins yet burning of that once- 
happy spot, which for many years been my calm 
llHi^at — the scene of cont-emplntion, of (bmiestic 
|lelicity — the source of health and contentment. 
fevfi I had consulted the dead, and attempted to 
j^aaiafte the liWng. Hero 1 had exchanged the 
I world for my httle family. 

' Perhapji fifty people were enjoying themselves 

upon those ruins wbet'e I had potssessed an exchi- 

Ifiive riglit, but I was now newed as an intniden 

lllie prt^judiced vulgar, who never inquire into 

» and effects, or the true state of things, fix 

t idea of criminality upon the man who is borne 

by the crowd, and every foot is elevated to 


- "' ' '" ' * 'r wn^oni with Uie goods, 

. furmeJ an encort, •U'l 
!i They wwu now np- 

kick hira. My premises, laid open by ferocious 
authority, were free to every trespasser, and I was 
the only person who did not rejoice in the ruins. 
It was not possible to retreat from that favourite 
place without a gloom upon tlie mind, whicJi was 
the result of ill-treatment by power without 

We now enter upon the events of Sunday 
morning. Another handbill was issued early in 
the day, signed by all the magisti-ates of the 
neighbonrhot)d, as follows : 


** Hirminghftm, Sutulayt 17ih July, 1701. 
** Fnenda and Fellow Churchmen, 

** Being t'onyiaced you are UDacquAiatcil that the grcnt 
loiiacs, which mx* sustained by your btirnijigund «ii-6tioying 
of tJjB houses of so mnny mdividuaU, will evi'iitiinlly full 
upon the coontry at large, and not upon the iJci.soiia to 
whom thoy bchmg, we feci it our liuty to ioJoiui you, 
that the tiamayes ahx'Hily done, upon Iht? beat toinpnta- 
tion that Ciiii be made, will amount to upwai^ls ot Une 
Hundred Thousand Pounds ; the wjiole of whiih t-noiniouB 
siuii will be charged upon the rcspeetive pariahea^ and 
paid out of the rates* 

** We, therifoie, as your friends, conjure you iniinedi- 
Ately to desist Iroin the destruction of any mon' litmuses ; 
otlierwiite the very prooeedingn wliieh your /eul (or shew- 
ing yotir attachment to the Church and King have ex- 
eitt^d, will inevitably be the means of most tieriouBly in- 
juring iiinunierable families^ who are hearty sup|torter» of 
Government ; and must bring on an addition of Ta^ca, 
which yourALdvea, and the re^t of the Friends of the 
thureh, will for yean* feel a very grievous harden. 

*'This we assure yon was the case in London, when 
there were bo many hon^es &nd public buildings burnt and 
doatroyed in the year 1780 ; and, you may rely upon it» 
will be so hivn* on Ibu present occasion. 

'*Andwe must observe to you, that any further vio- 
lent proecedings will njore ottend your King and Country, 
tlian serve the cauiie of Him and L'hurch, 

** FcUovo Churehuun, 
*• Am you love your King, regtu-d his Laws, and rcstoro 

**6od ^ve the King! 

E. Fituh, JL SpemtT^ 

Robert Lawhff, Henry Grt-swold Lewit^ 

HobcH tawlty^ juti. Charles Cuttis^ 

R, Morl&iidf Spenter Madan^, 

H^, IHghy, Edimrd Palmer, 

Edward Carver ^ ]V. VUUn^ 

J0hn Bra&H, W, H'Mit MtmiL'* 

Tills is probiibly the most extmorjiiiary notice 
ever issued by a body of nwgi^imi^.—jft^tfcr^ of 
tfis peace^ — to a mob of lawless i)ei'son8 who had 
bnnit aiid destroyed property belonging to hanii- 
less and peaceable inclividnaJs, lo the value of 
nearly a hundred thousand juiunds*. The^e worthy 
magifitrates are ** convinced " that the riotew, in 
rhuir holy zeal for CIhutIi and Khv^, arc *Min- 
acquainted that tlie great los?s . . * will 
eventually fall upon the coiuitr)' at Iiirge, and 
not uprm tfie pcrmmg in whom thf'y [/>., th£ hou^sei^ 
miff other )mti)f*rfiejt] helong " I Obviously, the 
inference io be drawn from this statement is, tliat 
if the I<ts8M8 huf been curtain to fall upon the 
jH'rsuiis atlvii'keil, tlic riotera might have gone on 
[ tiTilil clisi^cnters were utterly exterminated from 
the toMrri. But as the burden is likely to fall 
upon the tax -payers athirge, **thevenjj'rorf'etH/t(jH 
which If our Zf'nl fiw Hhewing ijour aftftchmettt to 
thf Church and King have t*xfited^** (laudable antJ 
praiseworthy as those proceinlinga doubtlefls were in 
thenjselvefi,) had better now come to a close, " as 
you love your King, regard his Laws, and rentore 
Peace " ! 

But even this loving adilrc'^s failed to restore 
peace. The lovers of the king, with due regard 
for his Jaws, no doubt, proceeded on Sunday 
morning to pull ilown ami burn the Meeting 
House at Kingswood»* and in a i^bori time 
reduced it to ashes. They had previously visited 
(ill their hatred of '' false doctrine, heresy, ajid 
schism,") the house of !Mr. Cox, at Wharstock, 
which, having been used as a house of prayer by 
the Dissenters, must o^me down ; and so, after 
emptying the cellar of its con ten U — they do not 
seem even to have entertained the aiigbtost 
scruple against nonconformists' wine— tl toy left it 
a heap of smoking ruins. 

The next place which required pulling down 
in the interests of Church and King wag 

• ♦* Tbia ftolltAiy pUee hid fallen by the hjuid of violBoed In the 

beginciiig of George the First, for whicb a penoji of the name of 

roUftS wa« execute,!, and from hliu ft aoviired the naine of St, 

J DolJox, wbirh it iitiU btan. He wia tha first paiBOit who snlTervd 

L Aflir paa«Lug the Riot Act."— ^tiK^ii't ifarmUvt (tf m« EU/tt, 

Ed;: bast on Hall, the refiidencc of Dr. Witheriti 
—''who," say .s Button, ** perhaps never heairlj 
Presbj'tui'ian eennon^ and yet u slb amiable I 
character ns he who haa,** — but, as we liave alren 
said in our notice* of this most estimalde man, ] 
had committed thf enormity of roc'ei%nng aq 
ihdtcring one of the persecuted fauiilios ; aa 
Imd, moreover, a welhst^ired cellar, and mail 
other valuables, rendering his house a proIiiJil4 
one to nttaek, l*he alarm reached Kim in time I 
secure and cnny ofl" his nm^t vahiahle liooka 
specimens, also nuK-h «jf the fumitum ; ha 
hapi>ily, the house was spared, fur no sooner 1 
the rioters I'tvaclied th'? place, unil commenc 
their attack u[>on the crllar, than ** the won 
ti'ifht horn** sounded in their cats ; when tliia fii 
midable banditti nn^uldered away, no mml kntJ 
how, and not a shadow of it could be fouu »!-**• j 

It may be easily imagined with what rcjoicim 
the townspeople i^Kieived tlie welcome newn 
the approach of the military. It was but a bQia 
troop,— about sixty-four in all,— but they weij 
sufticient to scare the Hotel's from tlitiir work 
destruction, Aa they marched into the Ion 
they were met by a large multitutle itf the mo 
peaceable citizens, the houses in all the princip 
streets were illuminated, and every token of ; 
was immifeslcd at their happy delivery twm 
rule of King Mob. For now that the riuti;]^ ] 
wreaked their vengeance upon the dij^«enter% i 
wei^e still insatiable^ other iiihabitiint^, who 
loyalty was above suspicion, lio^'an to fear foi 
their jjroperty. Tiie bankers h«d been compelkii 
to lodge their cash and notes (n mh Iddin 
places, lest it should oci ur to the rioters to 
for gold ; the carriage traHi«' in the 8tit*ets 
stopped unless the drivers wore bhie cockade* j 
even the mail-coaches had bcru 8to[»|>ed ouce ( 
twice ; so that the whole populace hml ciiuf* I 
rejoice that at last this reign of ierxot was orer. 

On Monday morning, however, a (ibbJi cod- 
tingent of would-be rioters reached the town, ^ 
a large body of colliers from tlie Black C<>untrt;j 
* Hutton'a Namtivt 




"who had heard of the glorioug doings of the 
Binuingham mob and longed to join in the fray. 
But the military also roceired a re-iMorcement at 
|he fiame time, another party of light horse, from 
f^ichfield, so that the grimy contingent found it 
^riaeat to retire, with as good grace as might be, 
to their awn regions. 

Before the day was over something like order 
was restored and buslnesa was resumed, fmd 
although disturbing rumours of a fresh out- 
break were current for some time, it was 
evident that peace was at last fully restored. 
And thus ended the memorable riots of July, 



of MlM Etisa«l]'a Xarnitivfr— Dr. Pric$tlfy*8 sddreaa— ^ ri*** GmttU and thii RiotA— AtWertiwrnciits^Coiiclmlatt of Miu 
attnu'tf JsarnitiTft— The Court of Conuirienf*— TriAla of the Rioters— WtUiiini Cowpcr on the Riot»-ClB.ini8 of the Suffercra — 
mtivo of the TriAli^The Dnion Meeting-UoaM— Rebuilding of Uid Old and New M«etlng-HouaM. 

[t is not to be supposed that, when once peace and 
had been restored, the subject of the riots 
ily forgottcai. On the contrary, there 
mediately ensued a paper warfare almost as 
fierce as the actual strife which had just ceased, 
letters, Addresses, and Pamphlets were poured 
upon the inhabitants from all quarters ; from 
Bhuicbmen, sufibrers, and outsiders, from all who 
lad, or imagined they had, a personal interetst in 
the matter, and many who had not, came augmcn- 
ktions of the deluge of riot literature, until it 
ould haTe been almost useless to attempt even a 
>jiiplete catalogue of the various publications. 
>iit it ia not with these that we have to do, so 
as with the actual events which followed 
emoiBble disturbances of the four days 
ding July 17th; and, first, as to the fortunes of 
e Bufferei-s themselves. 

The EoBsell family at length reached Lon- 

m in safety, and lepairod to Bates's Hotel, 

the Adelphi **Mr. Bates," says Miss Eub- 

Uf ** waa not up, but soon rodo and came 

meet UB with tears in his eyes, so happy 

Le to meet ua; he had heard reports of 

iiaturbanoes, and was truly relieved to see 

nfo. On sitting down here, for th^^ first 

sinc*» Thur^lay had we thought ourselves 


safe or at rest. Now we found both, and the 
greatest refreshment from washing off the dust 
and filth from our skins, and in changing our 
clothes. My father soon waited upon ^Ir. Pitt, 
and very soon after arriving we learned that Dr. 

P, was in town, as well as Mr, J, E 's family, 

and many other of our Birmingham friends* This 
evening we went to bed very early, and enjoyed 
it in such a manner as cannot be imagined. Soon 
after getting to sleep we were awakened by what 
we thought most terrible shouting j we jumped 
up, crying out the mob had followed us ; we rose 
up and in great alarm slipped on our cloaka, and 
went out to see how matters were j we found the 
servants, who, in turns, sat up through the night; 
they informed us that it was as quiet as usual, 
and we need not be at all alarmed, for the noiae 
we had heard was only the gardeners coming to 
Covertt Garden Markst* Thus happU^ relieved, 
and smiling at our awn fearsi, we returned to 
comfortable rest. 

" After staying a few days in London, we 
returned to Birmingham, my father, sister, and 
self 5 Thomas remained there at school. Nothing 
material occurred up the journey, but the senti- 
ments I felt on approaching dear Showell Green 
and first beholding the niin nf our much-loved 



r Aftf^r tbft Rtoto. 

mansion, I shall not forgei At a distanco of two 
or thr«6 miles wo discerned the spot, and on a 
nearer approach descried a part of the shell of the 
building rearing its head, blackened hy smolce, 
despoiled of its windows, and so defaced and 
demolished as scarce to leave a trace of its original 
foroL The fine tfill elms that grew at the hack 
of the house^ which shaded our nursery windows, 
and which I loved almost as if they w*ere my 
aisters^ still stood ; they reared their venerable 
h^mds above these melancholy rtiins, but had par- 
taken in their fate^ — their fine foliage was all 
burnt on the side next the house, and their stems 
blackened by smoke. What dUmal feelings filled 
my soul on contemplating this sad spectacle 1 It 
seemed as if I viewed the distorted and mangled 
corpse of a dear friend, a parent to whom I was 
indebted for much of my past happiness, and who 
couLl never again be restored to me. Passing on, 
we beheld Mr, G. Humphreys's house [now J, 
BatemEiri*s, Sparkhrook], the shell complete, but 
despoiled of all its windows, Dn P/s was as 
melancholy a piece of ruin as otir own. Arriving 
at New Hall Btreet [G. Russell*^], wo mot a 
hearty welcome from our friends there, and took 
up our residence under tiie hospitable roof of my 
good uncle, till mj father could procure a house 
for us. Ml I saw» felt, and observed seemed like 
a dream» and it was a long time before I could 
realize what had passed."* 

Dr» Priestley, immediately on his arrival in 
London, penned the following address, wMch 
appeared in At'ltf's Blrmmijliam Gazeiie of 
July 25th: 

To the Inhabitants of the 
Mt/ late ToicnsDien and Ntighbours^ 

AFTEK living with you cIctcu years, in rluch yoq had 
ntiilorm cxpcrifiicc of my j»<3accful behaviour^ in ray 
atientian to the quiet sttiiiies of iny profeHJsioo, and those 
of philo*iOpb>\ I w.iFj far from i-xpa-cting Ihe injuries whii h 
I and my friends hiiv« latt^ly received from you. But yo« 
have becQ misled. By hearing the DiHwuters, and piir- 
titjujarly the Uaitmrkn I)i««ent«rB, continually railed at, 

^ W6 Are indebted to Mr. CouncLUor H. P. M&rt{nt;«n, for Uie ust 
of & privafcfl r«pdi)t of 9li«$ Bu»iwU's most interesting n<rnttive. 

Hi enemies to the present Government, in Church and 
State, you have been led to consider any injury done to m 
(IS & meritorious thing ; and not haring been brti ~ 
informetl, the metina were not attended to. When tl 
ohj'ect was right, you thought the ifu^m^ could not 
wrong. By the discourses of your teach ct*, and 
exclamations of your superiors in generol, drinking cobI 
sion and damnation to us (which is well known to 
been their frequent practice) your bigotry has been exdli 
to the highest pitch, and nothing having been said to 
to moderate your passions^ but ©Terj^thing to infla! 
them ; hence, without any consideration on your part^ 
on theirs, who ought to hare known, and taught 
better — yon were prcjjared for every species of outra 
thinking that whatever you could do to spite and iiyi 
us, was for the support of Government, and especially 
Church* In destroying its, you have been led to thinl 
ifou did Ood and your country the most aabatan 

Happily, the minds of Kngliahmen have a horwir «f 
murder, and therefore yon did not, I hope, think of tkai ; 
though, by yonr elamorous demanding of wi/ at tlie Hoi 
it is probable, that at that time, some of you intended 
some personal injury. But what is the value of life, wh< 
every thing is done to make it wretched 1 In ntj 
cases, there would be greater mercy in dispatching 
inhabitants, than in burning their houses. However, 
infinitely prefer what I feel from the spoiling of my 
to the disposition of those who have misled yon. 

You have destroyed the most truly valuable and useful 
ap[iaralua of philosophical instruments that perhaps any 
individual, in this or any otlier countiy, was ever po»- 
sesed of; in my use of which I annually spent lar^ sums, 
with no pecuniary view whatever, but only in 
advancement of science, for the benefit of my country 
of mankind. You have destroyed a library correspoD( 
to that apparatus, which no money con re^purch 
except in a long course of time. But what I feet far more, 
you have destroyed ntanitJteripis, which have been Uie 
result of the laborious study of many yeara^ and which I 
shall never be able to recomposc ; and this has been d<XM 
to one who never did, or imagined you any harnu 

I know nothing more of the hand-biUf which is said to 
have enraged you so much, than any of yourselves, and 
disapprove of it as much ; though it has been made 
ostensible handle of doing infinitely more mntchief 
any thing of that nature could possibly have done* ll 
the cdobration of the French Kcvolution, at which 1 
net attend, the company assembled on the occasion, ooll 
expressed their joy in the emancipation of a neighbouring 
nation from tyranny, without intimating a desirt of any, 
thing more than such an improvement of our own Coi 
tution, as all sober citizens, of every persojision, have loi 
wisbed for. And tliough, in answer to the gross 
unprovoked calnmniesof Mr. Madan, and others, I pnbliel 
vindicated my principles as a Dissenter» it was only wit] 
plain and sober argument, and with perfect good hutuoi 
We are better instructed in the mild and forbearing 
of Christianity I than ever to think of havin|; recouiw 
violence ; and can you think snch conduct at ynani tni 


reooinnieiiiUtioii of jour rdigiouB principles in preft:reuc# 
to oonl 

Yon are still more niiataken, if you imagine that thia 
(Hmdoct of yours lias any tendency to aenrc your causv^ or 
to prvjndice ours. It is nothing but reason and ar^meni 
that can ever support any system of religion. Answer 
our arguments, and your business ia done ; but your 
having recourse to viahn^e, ia only a proof that you hnve 
nothing bettor to produce. Should you destroy mysulf, 
aa wrll as my house, library, and apparatus, ten more 
jicrsons, of equal or superior spirit and ability, would 
instantly rise op. If thoac ten were destroyed, an hundred 
would appear j and belie tc me, that the Church •f 
England, which you now think you are supporting, has 
r«^eiFcd a greater blow by this conduct of youra, than I 
and all my friends hare erer aimed at it. 

Besides, to abuse those who have no power of making 
real stance, is equally cowardly and brutal, peculiarly 
anwortliT of Englishmen, to say nothing of Chriatiauity, 
which teaches us to do as we would be done by. In this 
bosinoss wa are the sheep, and you the wolves. We will 
preoerve our charaet«?r, and hope you will change yours. 
At all events, we return you blessings for curseB ; and 
pray that you may soon return to that industry, and 
those wtier manners, for which the inhabitants af 
Bimi Ingham were formerly distingui^lied. 

I tun your since ri! wcH -wisher, 

London, Julu if>, 1791* 

P.S. The account of the f^rst Toast at thr Revolution 
Dinner in Tfu Tim^4 of this morning, can bu nothing 
less than a miUcious lie. To provo this, a list of the 
Toasts, i%ith an ao*.'ouat of all the proceedings of the day, 
will soon be published. The first of them was. The King 
and the Ctmntttittwrt, and they were all such as the friends 
of Liberty, and the tmo pinciples of the Constitution, 
would approve. 

The same issue of that journal contained a full 
account uf the riots to which we are indebted for 

I some of the particulars. The account opens with 
the amusing statement that ** In cmnplumee with 
tiie icUhes of the Magiitirates, W€ forbore to detail 
in anr lad the vidmt ^proceedings,** &q, I Lot the 
n^ader iniagine, if he can, the withholding by any 
tiewBpapor to-day of such startling news as that 
witliheld by Ari/§ Gazette for more than a week, 

I In deference to the wishes of a local authority. 
The Gazette of July 25th, however, made up 

liar the reticence of the previous week; by far 

I iIm? greater portion of the number was taken up 
with news and advertisements relating t<> the 
riot*, beaides which the proprietors also issued a 
0Oppleinent« consisting wholly of letters bf 

Mr, James Keir, in reference to the memomble 
dinner, giving a list of the toasts, and other 
information exonerating the dissenters from th© 
charges of disloyalty which had Keen repeated 
so frc<iuently in the accounts which appeared in 
the London newspapers. 

Among the advertisements ia the following 
address from the dissenters : — 

rtturn their grateful AdmoieUdgmiuts to all them 
Members of the established Church, who in any Mannir 
exerted t/iemselves during the lat4 Ili^ts, in Ihfcmt of their 
Persons and Froj^erty ; more partieularhj to those wfto in 
the true Spirit of Christianity received into their Uou^eg, 
and nttderth^ir Protection ^ many fctmilies of Disstnirrs 
who ipere oblitjfd to leave their own HabiUUions ; and also 
to oil those who recHwd and protected their Goods. Tfie^f 
trftM that good 3fen of every iMnonwuttion, will consider 
this Protection as highly hmiourabU to the Humanity of 
th^ioe who gftve it, and they Ikink it to be the more 
ineritoriauSy «s these generous Protectors did thereby exjioae 
tkemselees to Dnnger from a Iftteiess Moh^ \cho tranted 
only Pretence for rkj'rcdfttion, 

Anotlier is iuRevled by Mr. John Taylor ; 
ALL PersonB who have in their Possession any Booka, 
Writirigs, PnperR, &c., &c., belonging to John Tiiylor, 
Ksq., of Bordesley, aro particularly ititrcated to bring 
them to CharleM Tftylor'a, E*]. in thi; High-street, or to 
the Bftnk^ in Dale End, where any Intt'IIigeoce reapeot- 
ing the saiHR will be thankfvilly received, 

Birraingham, July 23, 17t*l. 

Under this is an address from William Hntton, 
as follows : — 

Birmingham, Jnly 25, 179L 
IT is a material RHief to that ( 'ulamity oiuler which I 
la^wur, to fiml^ since my Return, every Man my 
Friend^ exc4?pt the People who composed the Mob ©f 
Plundcrera, or wished to join them. I shall ever expn*si<i 
an Obligation to those who i>rcserved any at my Pitipfrty 
from Destruction ; but it gives me greut ConctTi^ that 
much of it has been destroyed through a Fear of rej*toring 
it, when I have already declared to the Woiltl, tlint I 
wonhi receive it with Gratitude. — My Friends will udd to 
the Obligation nnder which they have laid me, by 
restoring the lost Property as little damaged as possible, 
particnlarly the PE1NTJ5 and BOOKS, the Value of 
which is npwartls of a Thousand Pounds. Many of the 
Books are scarce, and in Sets, the Loss of one, dimiuishea 
the Value of the Remainder, and is an Injury which 
Time, Assiduity, or Money, can never repair. There i^ 
also loat, Plate, a Gold Watch, beaded Chain, with Gold 
Trinkets, and Jewels to a considerable Amount, eicluaiTe 
of Stock in Trade, Furniture. Apparel, HouaohoTd Linen 
ibe. Should any suspected Articlet be olforod to Salt; 

Aflof ttie RtotA.) 



> poit diaisa of the ion the moment it came home. 
Before that arrived we disco vei^d that the alarm 
waa unfounded, 

** On Tuesday afternoon my atmt came in our 
to take U8 to her house in Birmiugham, 
, been our first asylum. Our coachman 
bad his stable hat, instead of a laced one, a dirty 
silk handkerchief round his neck, instead of a 
white one, a weekV. begird on \m face, worsted 
fitockings on his legs, dirty shoes on hia feet, and 
was excessively drunk. After he had refreshed 
himself with some more liquor, I went to him 
and saidj * John, we have changed our minds, we 
shall not go to BLmiingham till to-morrow 
morning/ *B«t you must go now/ he replied, 
* for my master ordered me to bring you/ * ^"^o 
matter for that/ I said, * we shall not go till 
to-morrow.' *I suppose you think I'm not 
capable of driving you,* said the man, * and if 

that^s the case, there's my wliip, and d ^ii me 

if ever I mount the box again.' My blood boiled, 
but the riots had loosened every tic of subordina- 
tion, and the greatest blackguanl was the master ; 
1 therefore only replied, * I know you are a good 
driver, but we shall not go to-day,* reserving to 
myself, however, the right of making him keep 
bis word about mounting the box, at least after 
he had once set us down in Birmingham, I had 
soon the satisfaction of seeing him fast asleep in 
the stable, 

**On Wednesday morning our coachman was 
surly, but silent, and took us iu safety to the 
liouse of my aunt aud cousin, where we now ara 
He is alre^idy paid and discharged. We are now 
0eekiDg home. Many of our friends have given 
un invitations, and, among the rest, your brother ; 
but we have declined them aU, for my mother's 
state of health is such that she must have some 
little place that she u^in call her o^rti, 

" For some days I liad notliing in the world 
but the clothes I wore ; the rest of my apparel, 
my money, my lettei-s, my papers, my prints, aud 
my music were gone. Odd things are now coming 
in ereiy ^^^\ such as have been preserved by 

our friends and the servants at Birmingham, or 
such as plunderers dare no longer keep. Among 
the former is my guitar, which somo imp of mis- 
chief was carrying off in its case, when a neigh- 
bour bought it for sixpence. My poor * Bash * 
was taken home by a servant who had lived with 
us, and married, and has also been restored to me, 
and our cat, with her whiskers burnt off and her 
feet scorched, was found among the ruins by 
another, and is now anointed with oil, and fed 
with a tea-spoon." 

A few days aftei'wards, having settled down 
temporarily at the inn attached to Vauxhall 
Gardens, Miss Hutton concluded her narrative in 
a second It^tter to the laJy to whom the previous 
portion had been addressed,— Mrs, Andr6, of 
Enfield, near London. She says : — 

" The place from whence I date this tolls you 
our home, and a most delightful one it is; but 
I need not describe it, for 1 think you have been 
here, LTpon second thoughts, I think you have 
not^ so I will tell you that it is a kind of t^ivern, 
with a buwhug green, orchestra, woods, and 
walks, and that during the summer there is a 
public niglit once a week, on which there ar<^ 
musical perfon nances, as at your Yiuixh all, except 
that they, as wtdl as the company which frequent 
them, are upon a smaller scale, and in a lower 
style. Hero we board and lodge, that is, my 
mother and myself, for a guinea and a half a 
week the two. My father sups and sleeps here^ 
paying for his supper. We have a spaeiuiis 
dining room, which we are obliged to quit on 
public nights, when we sit in my mother's bed- 
room. We choose to eat alone, but do not require 
a dinner to be provided for us. Upon the whole, 
we are as comfortably situated as people L-an 
expect to be who have lost two good houses. 

** The rioters demolished all the door^, windows, 
chimneyq>ieces, wainscots, skirting boards, and 
banisters, together with the roof of the house. 
They then b*?gan upon the sUirs and tore up 
aboul six; but they found this work far more 
laborious, and less amusing, than setting a house 



[After the Riots. 

in a blaze, and they desisted. To have fired the 
whole would have produced a glorious scene had 
not the neighbours prevented it, in consideration 
of themselves; but the carrying off paper, and 
tearing to pieces the inside of a house, proved a 
tedious and fatiguing business, and they gave it 
up for better sport. 

"On Tuesday, the 19th July, my father got 
boards nailed together for outer doors, old glazed 
windows put up in front, and again appeared in 
the shop, though in the most lamentable situation 
imaginable. In the course of a week he had new 
doors, windows, and grate put up in the kitchen, 
new furnished it entirely, and it became the sole 
eating room for him and my brother and the cook 
and the housemaid. In about another week thoy 
had got two old bedsteads, and my brother and 
the servants slept in the house, whicli thoy 
continue to do still. If I were to de8cri])e the 
furniture of their apartments, you would for a 
moment cease to lament the occasion of it to 
laugh at its oddity. Curtains are a luxury my 
brother does not know, except to his windows, 
and one of these is blue and the other yellow. A 
piece of oil-cloth hung up serves for a door, and, 
but for this, the room would be open to the court, 
for there is no outer door below. 

" The Court of Requests, which had occasioned 
the destruction of so much of my father's 
property, furnished the means of saving a part. 
The beadle of the Court, who was also a sheriffs 
officer, shared the plunder of the house at 
Birmingham, and whatever he and his man could 
seize was reserved for us in a chamber in his 
house. I went there, and among broken chairs 
and sofas, I found some welcome bundles of linen 
— most welcome to me, for no part of my apparel 
had been changed during our troubles. Every- 
thing was marked with dirt or blood, the tokens 
of the danger it had escaped." 

In another letter to the same lady she 
writes (October 23, 1791) : "Our spirits, except 
my mother's, have risen superior to our Iq^es; 
my father has begun to rebuild and repair 

his houses; my brother to purchase books and 
prints; and I to collect costumes, and write 
journals : my mother alone has sunk under 
terror and anxiety, operating on a frame already 
diseased." It was shortly afterwards found 
necessary, on account of Mrs. Button's ill- 
health, to remove to the Hotwells, Bristol; 
and to this place came many cheery letters 
from the brave old bookseller to his family, 
detailing the events in Birmingham during the 
remaindftr of the year. In reply to one of 
these, his daughter writes : 

" We intreat you never to go again to the 
Court of Conscience ; it is a duty you owe to 
yourself and to us. You have devoted every 
Friday of your life to it during nineteen years, 
and much of your other time ; you have heard a 
clamour that would have deafened, and breatheii 
un atmosphere that would have poisoned a horse ; 
and your sole reward has been insult and the 
destruction of your property." 

To this he replies : " Do not distress thyself 
about my resuming the direction of the Court of 
Conscience ; I am as likely to distribute justice 
while sitting on a bench in the moon." .... 
" Archer, my successor, told me to-day that he 
was not able to conduct the Court, but would 
give it up. He wished I would take the reins. 
Another man observed, that the Commissioners 
did not know what they were doing ; that they 
could not understand the cases; and that if I 
did not return the Court would not last a year." 
Hutton modestly adds, however, " This is not 
true." Among the other items of news he has 
to tell his family is, that "Dr. Priestley comes 
no more. He has taken a house near London for 
twenty-one years, 2>rovide(l he lives and the house 
stands so long" A project had been set on 
foot by the suff(;rers in the riots to prosecute 
the magistrates, but Hutton wisely reasons 
against this. He says : ** I supped with 
William Humphreys a few nights ago. We 
were a select company of only seven persons, 
[all sufferers in the riots,] and I estimated 

I JUtertHalUoUl 



our joint property at ^400,000. The design 
Was to prosecute the superior powers. Jolin 
EyLmd and I carried it in tlie negative, wliicb 
fcurt poor William RusseU, who is rtaliy a 
good man, so much, that he will resign the 

' The trials of the rioters themselves, however, 
Baine on before those for carapensation of the 
kufferers, at the Warwick Assizes, on August 
Snd, in the same year. Only twelve pei-sons 
WtUB arraigned, and even of thei*e only four 
prere convicted. Against one of the prisoners, 
jiamed Joseph Careless, it was pro veil, by two 
iritnessea, that he appeared to be the ring-leader 
in demolishing Baskervillo House ; they saw him 
prilh an oak rail, about two yards long, knocking 
^own the brick-work of a bow-window ; and he 
pros also seen driving away the pigs. Against 
Shifl^ however, it was sworn by his sister-in-law, 
EJiziibeth Grice, that **ho came there not as a 
rioter, but to suppresa the riot ; inasmuch as ho 
let out two pigs, from an outhouse, whi<di was 
loon after burnt down." lliis evidence, together 
irith hifl good character, — all the rioters seem t(/ 
lave borne, or procured, a good character, — 
ibtained for him his acquittal. Four of the 
iioters were found guilty and received sentence 
^f death, viz. : Francis Field, John Green, 
lomew Fisher, and William Hamls. All 

ethers wore acquitted ; and even of the four 
lio were sentenced only two suffered the penalty 

death. The leniency of the Court towards 

violent supporters of " Church and King " 

into a proverb. On one occasion, not long 

r the trial, a gentleman who was liunting with 
r. Corbett's fox-hounds, was so sure of kiOing 

fox that he cried, ** Nothing but a Bmningham 
Tury can save him ! " 

On the day of the trial the poet Cowper wrote 
rom Weston, to a clcrgj^man in the neighbour- 
Kood, the Rev. W. Bagot : ** You live, I think, 
El the neighbourhood of Birmingham, — what must 
^ have felt on the late alarming occasion ? You, 
suppooo, could see the fires from your windows, 

We, who only heard the news of them, have 
trembled. Never, sure, was religious zeal more 
detestably manifested, or more to the prejudice of 
its own cause," 

The claims of the sufferers were heard at the 
Spring Assizes at ^Yarwick, in 1792. The total 
bill of costs amounted to £35,095 13s. 6d. Hero, 
as at the trial of the rioters, the whole weight of 
authority was against the dissenters. No claim 
was allowed on behalf of the New Meetbg House, 
because the Trustees had lost their License ; 
ultimately, however, a grant of £2,000 was made 
from the Treasury, upon the application of ^Ir. 

A very interesting sketch of the proceedings 
at this trial is given in several letters from a 
Bimiingham tradesman, Mr. Thomas Richards, of 
82, High Street, (of whose establishment a full- 
page engraving is given in Bi? set's *' Magnificent 
Directory,'' ) addi-essed to his daughters at school 
As these contain the only accurate account of this 
event, so far as we know, we make no apology 
for printing them entire. 

'* Birmingham, April tst^ 170i.—-l dare say you will 
be anxious to hear some ne^s from Warwick assizes, as we 
are all m much interested in the trials there. They began 
on Wednesday^ the 28th Marih ; in getu^ral they hare 
finished in t^vo or tliree d&ys, but they are not yet ovpr, 
oor likely to be for several days. Our friend Dr, Prieutley 
13 there, and as I found Iw did not intend cojjdng to Bir- 
iningbain, Mr. Hamh Rylaoti, Sen,, Mr. Benton, and 
mj^self, wont on Thursday last to pay our ni'speets to bim. 
We were so fortunate as to cull upon him at a liuic when 
he was disengaged, and spent ao hour with him by our- 
8<?l\^ea ; be looks very well, and enjoys his tisual and equal 
Oow of spirita. It ia evident he ia not situated bo much 
to his own wish as he woa at Birmingham, but he aeems 
to feel and uniformly expresses himaelf like a truly Chria- 
tiftii Pbilosopber. We found by our newspaper, that he 
had received some insults at Warwick, and we asked bim 
about it, hut be made very light of it ; and eaid, he wa« 
90 u«ed to ill-treatment from the ignorant part of mankind, 
that ho considered it as nothing, but looked upon the kind 
attention of hia friends as clear gain. He was evidently 
pleased to sec ua, and pressed us to stay, till we were ia- 
ternipted by other company. Many of his congregation 
have followed our example, and have gone over on purpose 
to see him, and came back the same day. We stayed all 
night, and Mr. Benton and 1 were obhged to ilcep in one 
bed, for which we paid the extravagant price of half a 
guiu^, though I wan in the court till after two o'clock on 



[Aftar the OioU.. 

Friday morning, hearing Mr. Hyland'a trial, which lasted 
about 6ft€fn houra, I was there from seven o'clock till 
two, aud got ft very good place amongst the CoanseL I 
mut'L wished to Ijave gone again to-morrow to hear the 
Dr/s trial, but Mr. Richards ia just »et off with Mr. 
Whntcly, the attorney, and the Rev. Mr. Ijawrence, who 
is siipjioened as a witness on the Pr-*s tri»^h I expect he 
will cut a poor figure. The Dr. told me they had got an 
excellent set of qiiefttionij to ask him, drawn up by a person 
well qiialified to do it. I think the disaentcra have missed 

him, if possible, but it is an nncertainty whotheir tb«y can 
have him, as the court* are open in London, and I fear h« 
may be engaged. The only two trials that hare 
place yet, are Mr. Ryland*8 and Mr, Taylor'a. They ] 
taken off from the former more than £700, and from ] 
Tnylor, about £2.600 ; it is expected they will take < 
more from the Dr. and Mr. flutton. I am truly sorry for^ 
Mr. Hutton's family, tbey have been used in the moat 
Bliameful manner ; tliey have been inaulted in the Btreeta ; 
ludicrous and scandalous prints have been published and 




'-i^^^ *^"*'^ -^itUi^ Hmt<^ 



I D 3 



it very much in not having an eminent couiiftel to reply to 
a famous <»ne that the opposite party have brought up on 
the occasion. He is the most violent, impudent fellow 
1 ever heard in any court ; he spoke two hours upon 
Mr. Ky land's trial, and began to Uirow out such invec- 
tives and falsehoods against the di8«eiitera» that the judge 
fitopi>ed him, but such was hia effrontry that he told the 
Judge that if he sent him to Newgate he would say what 
he bad to aay. I found the Judge told him afterwards 
that his speech had a very bad tendency, hut he is well 
puid, and seems to be detenu iued to say anything that 
will please his employers. The dissenters haveuow sent for 
Mr. Erftkinc, the most eminent counsel in the kingdom — I am 
aniioUB to know whether they have brought him» Three 
ntleinen set off on Sunday night, on purpose to procure 


sold in the most imblic manner ; in short, exactly" 
same spirit seems to have actuated both the great and 
little mob of late, as produced and carried on the riotf in 
July. When this wicked spirit will subside I know not, 
but there is no danger of its shewing itself iu the aame 
manner as it has done before. 

" The insult that waa offered to the Dr. was by 
attorney in Warwick. It seems he followed him, eithe 
in the hall or the street, and cursed him and used 
most ftuda(.ious language, but the Dr. took no notice ( 
him, but Mr. Edwards saw him in the street last Sunday^ 
and went up to him and ftxed his piercing eyes upon hiu 
with all the energy he was capable of, said to him * ore 
you the fellow that dapad to damn Dr. Priestley I ' Hf_ 
walked off Hk« a coward, and made no r^ply/* 

▲li«rlW IUoii.1 



ing seen one of tlie gentlemen who went to LonOon for 
Erskine^ and have the mortification to hear that he coiild 
not potaibVy come, but the Chief B&ron Eyre is come to 
relieve the other Judg«, and I have no doubt will be a 
rhsttk npott the coanael that haa distinguiahcd himself so 

diutid with Ail. Juo, KyWd und bou^ aifter tWiii- fiery 

Taoa. KtcuAUM.'* 

** Birmiti^tam, Afril Siht 179i€^^}n my last, I gave 

yoit 9nme account of Warwick Asaizes, which were not 

hui^heil till l<*itday night. Dr. Priestley's trial c^iine on 


Ftqm a DmtoU^g in tlu PenhouM CfilUeticn, BirtAinffKam Old Lihrarn, 

i by bisjcoaiwipt of IIm ^nrt. ^EcskiDeaajB if Baroa 
E^yre had been in court when Harding behaved lo ill. he 
certainly would have committed him to prison, 

•• I mrpfmt the trials will all be over by tc>-night, bnt as 

I think you will be anxious to hear what has been doing, 

I believe I shall send this by post to-day, and probably 

write again on Sunday. We called at Rowiujcton when we 

I went to Warwick^ spent a short time with your mama, 

. hcrr very well, did not call as wu came back* as 

^Indocod to come throagh Kuowlo, where we 


on Thursday, and though they madt^ very large deductiaua 
from his claim, I am persuaded they did not make any 
from his happiiess, for 1 suppose theflw w«r waa a trial 
in that court where «o reapecUble a set of evidftUce ware 
collected together in favour of any nian, much leaa of a 
man who had by hia enemies been treated as the worst of 
criminals. Three of the moat distiuguiahed of the wit- 
nesses were the Rev. Augustus Johnson, of Keoilworth, a 
gentleman of the eatabliahroant, a philosophical friend of 
the Dr/st *^ > tnaa of most amiahk character and tnan> 



Utter tbe I 

netn, and respected by ttio whole coujsty round, and of 
large property ; the Rev, Mr. Berrington, a Roman 
CBtholic prie«t, and an aullior, who haa distinguished him- 
self by several very valuable and ingenious publicfttiotis, and 
added to that, a man of moBt respectable character, and 
esteemed by all the litem I i oT thu present time ; Mr. Gal ton 
Jun,, of this town, « qtuiker, whom yott know, who 
is universally resjiected by all imrties for his abilities^ his 
generosity, hia candour, his pulilic usefolness, and every 
private virtue which can a^lorn the gentlemnn and the 
scholar. The appearance of such characters aB these, 
would have done honour to royalty itself, and their testi* 
mony woiiJd have been decisive in any case. Several 
other persons, of high reputation, were ready to have 
appeared if it had been necessary, and wo^ild have been 
proud to have had ati opportUDity of shewing the world 
that they were the friends of Dr. Priestley, but there were 
many that were not called upon , The Dr. 's two sons under- 
went long examinations, and were complimented by both 
the Judge and Counsel. 1 have no doubt but the Dr. 
experienced much more »atiafjn;tion from the aptieanuiee 
of these, his friends, and the behariour of hts sons, than he 
would have done If the jury had given him every shilling 
he claimed." 

Tlie amounts claimed by the various sufierers, 
togeUier with the araounta allowed by the Courts 
are g:iveii in the following table, prepared by 
William Button : — 




John Taylor, Esq. . 
Thomas Rossel, Esq. 

. £12,670 
285 U 

2 .. 
7 , 

. £9902 2 

William Piddock . . 

556 15 

7 ., 


Jolm llarwood . . . 

143 12 

6 . 


Thomas Hawkes . . 

304 3 

8 . 

DO 15 


B. C. Cox .... 

336 13 

7 . 

. 254 

Parsonage House . . 
St. Dollax .... 

267 U 11 .. 
IDS 8 9 , 

. 200 
. 139 17 


William Rufisel, Esq. 

. 1971 8 

6 . 

. 1600 

John Ryland, Esq. . 

3240 8 

4 .. 

. 2495 11 


Old Meeting .... 1983 1^ 
Geo. Humphreys, Esq. . 2152 13 
Dr. Priestley .... 3628 8 
Thorn aft llntton (my son) 61 ft 2 
Wm. Huttont myself) . 6736 3 

3 ., 

1 .. 
9 ., 

2 .. 
8 ., 

, 1390 7 
. 1855 11 
. 2502 18 

. ei8 2 

. ^m 17 



£35,095 13 e £26,961 2 8 
These amounts, small as they were in pro- 
portion to the claims, were paid gradgingly, and, 
says Hutton, "with bs much reluctance as if the 
sufferers had destroyed their own property/' The 
mere costs of the trial, borne by the dissenters 
amounted to thirtot?n thotiaaiid pounds. 

The congregations of the two Meeting Houses, 
depiived fur a time of their accustomed places of 
worship, obtained the temporary uae of part of 
a building called the Amphitheatre, in Livi 
Street, which waa opened, under the name of 
Union Meeting House, on the 13lh Xovem' 
1791, Mr. Thoroaa Richards^ several of whose 
letters we have already quoted, wrote on that day 
to his daughtei's : 

"Our new jilace of worship, formerly the Amphitheatre, in 
Livery Street, is made very commodious for our purpose^ 
and was opened this morning by Mr. Coated, who preai^ed 
an excellent aennon upon the occasion, from the 4th Jobu. 
23-24 verses. It was very well ailed, both parti of the daj, 
1 believe not less than a thousand people in the morning, 
and I :iup[K>se 1,200 this afternoon ; and he seemed to be 
beard by everybody present. 1 tis a much more con veuu 
and comfortable place than the generaHtyof the peo] 
expected, and I think will do very well till our owu pli 
are rebuilt ; we have tnken it for three years. Dr. Pricslli 
offered to come to be with us for a few Sundays, but many 
of the congregation thought it better to deprive ounelm 
of the pleasure of his company, than expose him to the 
riak of insult from our Birmingham savagos. It was Isit 
week determined by the congregation of the late Dr. Pri( 
to invite him as his successor, and I suppose he will ncce] 
their invitation." 



The congregation of the Old fleeting House 
commenced to rebuOd hi June, 1792, on the 6ite_ 
of the old building destroyed by ihe rioteiaj 
but did not complete it imtil 1796. It wjw 
built sufficiently strong to stand a siege almo6t ; 
the basement, which is of stone, forma * 
piazza; above, the building is of brick, and 
has but few pretentions to architectural beauty. 
It is capable of accommodating about 1,100 

The New Jtleeting House, in Moor Street^ wa* 
not opened until July 22, 1802, It was similar 
in appearance to the Old Meeting ; the interior 
measured 76 feet by 40 feet, and will accom- 
modate about 1,200 persona. Views of botli 
buildings, together with the temporary home of 
the two Societies in Livery Street, appear on 
page 254. 

use " 



Frtmi 1775 to the huming of the New Street Theaire in I79JS, 

kHa fn BlTminghtkm—f\ni attempt to obtain a Li eons* for lli^ Tlicatrc— The bill— The dobat* on the first rwkctitig~Mr. Burke*! 
Vpceeh—Defeftt of the bilJ on the iccond reaflln^— Beiieflts— The Li very Strcut Aiuj«liitbratm— John Cctllln*'* Enteruiniuont, " The 
Bniah ^— fiurniog of the New Stroei Tlieatre — 3a«tt'8 Wij;— Act>ra' Beaeflu at the Aiaphithoiitrc, 

% last notice of mtttlers theatrical brought the 
Ujry of local theatres down to the year 1775.* 
that date, the i-eader will remember, the town 
flted of two newly-built theatres, ^thoau of 
w Street and King SiKjet. The opening of 
Be two houses marked the beginning of a new 

in the history of the stage in Birmingliam. 
lierto the dramatic entertain mients given in 

town hardly et^ualled those of the strolling 
jrera " under canvas," and even these had fre- 
infely to give way before the less legitimate 
formatices of rope and wir© dancers, conjurors, 
^eaters, and other ** entertainers " of a iniscel- 
BOH« character ; iidw» a better clasi* of enter- 
uneots was promised : '* Stars '' from the 
tropolitan theatres occasionally visited the 
d housed. Ou the r2th of July, at the King 
Bet Theatre, MackJin — 

• - -** the Jew 

Thjit dhakedp^are'draw " — 

ie!iT©<l in the character in which he eclipsed all 

er actors of bia time, that of Shtjlock ; and 

Hiat of Sir* Arch f/ Maemrcaftmn in the farce of 

^h la Mode; other welMcnown actors also 

|Kd during the same year. But the old 

ng for miscellaneous performances of a lower 

Br still remained, and we read in the very ad- 

iisemcnt announcing Macklin's performances, 

the uncommon applause given to Signor 

1*8 Imitation of Birds, &c., on Friday 

the above Theatre, has induced Mt, 

engage him for a few nights after the 

of hifi present agreement at Sadler's 

taldie Life And ErenLi (OiAptfT xxir., pp. 141^.) 

Wells, which wiU be some time in the next 
month, when he will certainly return here, and 
entertain the publick with several new Perform- 

Up to this time all theatrical performances in 
Birmingham had been, strickly speaking, under 
the baa of the law, none of the theatres which 
had arisen from time to time having been licensed. 
As far as Birmingham was concerned, therefore, 
the old law was still in force regarding all actors 
as rogues and vagabonds, who were pliable, as a 
locid notice pointed out, for ^* the acting of Plays, 
Interludes, Comedies, Tragedies, Operas, Farces, 
and other Entertainments of the Stage, without 
legal Authority, to condign Punishment." Thi;^ 
anomalous position was not one in which the 
theatre-loving people of Birmingham were inclined 
to remain contented any longer ; and eo we read 
in the Gazctie^ of February 17, 1777, that "On 
Monday last Mr. Yates presented a Petition to 
the House of Commons for leave to bring in a 
Bill to license the Theatre in New-Street, in this 
Town ; another Petition was also presented at the 
same Time, signed by several Gentlemen and 
respectable Tradesmen, in support of Mr. Yates*s 
Petition: both of which were then read, and 
referred to a Com rait bee appointed to consider 
the same, with a Power to send for Persons, 
Papers, and Keconla." 

In order to strengthen his position, Mr. Yates 
inserted in the same issue of that journal, an 
advertisement as follows :— 

*'To the GeatUraen, Manufacturera, Trad^oaiuen, Itc, » 
of tlu5 Tt»m of Btniiiiighftm, and its Environs. WUci^ojui 

a Petition la now depending in the Honour&ble House of 
Commons, for a Royal Tueatee in the Town of Bir- 
mingham ; and it having been suggested to several 
Gentlemen of the said Town, that a bad Use might be 
made of the Power intended to be rested in the Person 
to whom it may be granted ; the following Comlitionf* 
arc submitted to their Consideration : 

"First, That no public Dirersions, such aa Rope- 
Dancing; Tumbling, Puppet-shows, fcc, which haye 
been lately exhibited, and ore so greatly complaioenl of, 
shall ever he prmitted at the New-Street Theiitre. 

** Secondly, That the Time for performing Flap shall 
be limited to four Montlia ; and if any Attempt shall be 
made to exceed that Time, the Magistrates for the Time 
hftng shall have the same full Power in every Hespect to 
restrain them, as if no such Authority had beeo granted 
for a Eoyal Theatre. 

"On the above Condition* (which have alreatly bet^n 
offered to several respectable Gentlemen) it is presumed 
that a Royal Theatre would be very acceptable and 
agreeahlo, ai it is certain nine Parts in ten of the Town 
are convinced that two Play-houses are greatly injurious. 
Thefefere, whether a Theatre flo regulated would not bo 
preferable to those on the present plan Is a Question 
siihraitted to the candid Public/* 

A copy of the bill for licensing the theatre, 
was printed m the Gazette of ^larclx 10th, 1877. 
It runs AS foEows i — 

"A Bill for auibHng his Majesi^ to liaeTue a Play- 
house in the Town of Birmitiffiam, in the Couni^ of 
Jf^etrwufk, f Of font months tmrf yenr, 

*' Where«a it may be proper that a Play-bonse should 
be Licenaad in the Town of Birmingham, in the County 
of Warwick for four months every year ; 

**MaY IT THBRKFoaK PLEAr^E Tom Majestt, That it 
may be enacted. And he it enacted, by the King's Most 
Exoellent Majesty, by and with the Coiifcent oJ the J^rds 
Spiritual and Temporal, and Commons, in this present 
FarUament assembled^ and by the Authority of the saaie, 
That so much of an Act of Parliament, which passed in 
the tenth Year of his late Majeaty's Reign, intituled, 
' An Act to explain and Amend so much of an Act made 

* in the twelfth Year of the Reign of Queen Anno, liiti- 

* tuled an Act for reducing the Laws relating to Rogues, 
' Vagabonds, Sturdy Beggars, and Vagrants, and sending 
^ them whither they ought to be sent,' as diseharget all 
Persons from representing any Entertainment on the 
Stage whatever, in Virtue of Letters Patent from his 
Majesty, or by Licence from the Lonl Chamberlain of 
his Majesty's Household, for the Time being, except 
within the Liberties of Westminster, or where Iiis Majosty 
is rcaiding for the Time being, be, and is hereby* 

• with respect to the said Town of Birmingham, 
daring the Months of June, July, August^ and September 
in every Year ; and that it shalJ and may be lawful for 
his Majesty, his Heirs, and Successors, to grant Letters 

* If kli« Bill r««MM. this Bliink will b« niled up ^i^li th« word 

Patent for eatablishing a Theatre or Playhouse, 
the said Town of Binninghara, for the Performanet « 
Entertainments of the Stage during the Months of Jtiae, 
July, August and September, in every Year \ which Theatre 
or Playhouse ^during the Time before -mentioned) shall be 
entitled to all the Privilegea and aubjocted to all tb 
licgulations to which any Theatre or Play-houae in Giett 
Britain ia entitled and subjected. '* 

The bill waa read for the first tixne in tht 
Hotise of Commons on the '2&th of March, audi 
was during tho short debate which eosned 
Burke niadts the now famous reforence to Uii 
ingbam as ** the gT«at Toy-shop of Europe^ ** If 
speech on this occasion was reported in t!i 
Gazette^ apparently in full, (an nnusnal circn 
stance in those days,) aa follows : — 

**I am sure, Mr. Sj>eaker, that if the Playhouse in 
Question produces Pieces with half as much Wit in tbej 
as the honouraUis Gentlemen has eKcittd agpunat 
Bill» in what I may call the Prologue to the Play, th 
Town of Btrminghani will he most admirably entertainr^ 
— hut, Sir, the Honourable Member' a Wit stop* filun 
even of the Iknmumieut of this Piece : — >Let us s»e £ouia 
thing more of it : let us hear the Piece l>efore we dcckrl 
against it. He has brought ancient History to t^U y*«a 
the Circnmatftiices of the City where Iron and St«el wet* 
first wrought : hut I wiU likewise teU Iiim thai we an* 
indebted to the ^ni« Dfity for Amusement and thfMitttcal 
Representation, consequently what he said is an A ig i im etit 
for the BilL— But, Hir, to be mor* sortons : I do not 
know that Theatres are Schools of Virtue :— I wouU 
rather call them Nurseries of Idleness ; hut then, Sir, ol 
the Tarious Means which Idleness will take for its amnM"- 
ment, in Tnith 1 holieve the Theatre is the rnoct inao* 
cent :— The Question is not, Whether a Man had l»f tt«r 
be at Work than go to the Play? — it ia simply tlrt* — 
Being idle; — shall he go to the Play or some Blacksun Is 
Entertainment I— Why I shall bo free to say, I think the 
Play will bo the boat Plaice that it ia probable a Black* 
smith's idle momenta will carry him to. The Hon. 
Gentleman informs the House, that great IneoDTeoi«iiosa 
hare been found from the licensi^ Hoiuai ai Urctpool 
and Manchestvr. The Case is not parallel betwoen ihom 
Towns and Birmingham,— They have a Qenend Li ^ 
— Birmingham asks for a Ft^ur MimUiM* Uktmoi t^ 
their Theatres are under tha d inaction of tl^ aaiu« 
Strolling Aliinager, who when he once enter* the Town. 
never quits it, whilst by any Arts he can force Coinpmy 
to hia Theatre, — Birmingham Tlieatre wtU be under xhv 
Direction of a Man very eminent in hia Profofision aa a 
Comedian ; who in London conducts the moat elegssnt 
Enteriaioment in Europe, and who never has baeii, or 
wishes to be there, hut daring i\m TlrnM ili# Thi»UMof 
Drury-Lane and Covcnt*Ganien ar« shut up in ti* 
Summer. I look upoji Birmingham to he tfic ^rtmi 
Sh&p a/ Eurajjtt^ and suhaui il to> JUlt. ttHK&Wo of 

TH* TItMtiv in 1 



Hon, Ildnae, to consider if Birmingham an that Accountf 
ia not the iiw$t proper Pla^t in England to have a Heensed 
Theattr. The Qaestion before us turns upon this Point 
— there are already two Playhouses unlicensed ; now the 
Bill proposes that instead of two in Ditfiaticu of Law, the 
People of Bfrmingham shall have o»« according to Late— 
therefore, let 115 prf>coed and st*nd the Bill to a Com- 
mittr^, when wc shall hear the Evidence of Inhtibitnnts 
af the first Koputation ; and if they can prove, that one 
hgal PlatfkotiM m)X check Industry, promote Idleness, 
and do other Mischiefs to Trade, which two ThetUrc^ 
c&nitury to Ltnw do not, — then it will be Time to throw 
oot the Bill" 

Hie imlicensed theatre remamed an institution 
in Birniingham for thirty years after the defeat 
of 1777 ; Beveml miftuccessfiil attempta were 
made bj Mr. Yatea, of tho New Street Tlieatr©, 
and by the manager of tliat in Kin^ Street, to 
obtain a licence for the lucal theatre, and it was 
not nntil 1807 that the Act of Parliament was 
obtained which gave to Birmingham a ** Theati-e 

Most of the thea'j'ical notices in the old local 

iofts coLUXH, Atrruon of " itie brvsh," 

The division on the first reading of the bill 
showed a majority of twenty in favour of iU 
being read a second time, there being 48 votes in 
itd favour and 28 against it. The second reading 
waa Exi^ for the 22nd of ApriJ^ and the local 
interest in the fortimea of the bill wat intense, as 
^jnanifested in the lengthy report of the debates 
t'ikflt occattOiL^ — so copious indued as to drive 
out manj of the advertisements. On the second 
rftading the bill waa defeated by a majority of 
51, thftiw being only eighteen votes for and sixty- 
aiDe agiainst it 

journals refer to benefits, often of actors whoso 
very names are now almost forgotten. The names 
of Mrs, Robinson, ^Ixs. Whitfield, ilr. Powell, 
and u the re, which occur in the Gazette during the 
period imder notice, will, doubtless, be unfamiliar 
to the reacier, even though he may be no stranger 
to the history of the English Stage. One or two 
examples of these benefit notices, which sound 
somewliat cnrious in modem ears, may be given 
here. The first-named lady, ^Irs. Robinson, was 
favoured with a second benefit during the eeaaon 
of 17^3| in conAer^tience of the w»nt of success 


OLD AND NEW BIKMIKGHAM. ixht Tiicat« m Bimiin^btti, iT?*-im.] 

on the occasion of her first appeal to the public. 
The second would appear to have been better 
received, from the following advertisement, in 
which the henefidem thanks hor patrons : — 

**Mrs. RoBiysoN preacnta her humble Res|iects to 
that unemmnonly brill iint and crowded Audienc*?, whoee 
Appearance on Monday Kight in her Favour must ever 
be n^garded by her as a ^lark of the most flattering 
Approbation, and as a Proof of the moat exalted 

'*To thoie many — very many Friends, whose kind 
Intentionji wert frustrated by their being, unfortiinatelyi 
too late to aecure Pkces in the Theatre, her warmest 
Acknowledgments are also due* 

**Toth6 Politeness and Liberality of the Manaoers 
she considers herself as peiuliarly indebted. The only 
Allay to such heart^felt Satiafaction is — the Consciousness 
that no Language which she can adopt— and, indeed, no 
Language in the World — can do Justice to her Feelinga 
on this Occasion ; but she hopes that, when she has the 
Honour and Felicity of Rppeariiig €Lgain before her indul- 
gent and ever- to-be- revered Patrons, the stiO linppier 
Exertions of maturer Judgment may afford more nuhstan- 
tial Evidence of her Gratitude for such unmerited Good- 
ness than it ia in the Power of Prafestiom to aiTord, 
however ardent or however sincere.*' 

Few of our readers woidd be willing, probably, 
to credit the fact that Birmingham, a century ago, 
actually possessed an opera-house, Wc bad no 
trustworthy evidence of the existence of such an 
institution, yet such there undoul>tedly w^, 
although under the more modest title of the 
** Concert Booth," a wooden play-houae, erected 
on the Moseley Road early in 1778. An an- 
nouncement of the performances thereat appears 
in the Gatdie of June 8th in that year, as 
follows :— 

'* This present Mohpay, June 8th, At the New Coi»- 
CEKT B<»uTH, near the Plough -and -Harrow, Moaeley 
Road, will be p« rformed a Concert of Vocal and Instru* 
mental Mrsn:. — The Yoeal Parts by Mr, Butler, and 
Mrs. Smith (late Mrs, Woodman,) from the Theatre 
Royal Covent Garden. Between the several Parts of the 
Concert will be presented (gratia) a Tragedy called The 
London Merchant ; Or the History of Gi^orge Bam-well. 
To which will be added, a Farce, called the King and the 
Miller of Mansfield. Before the Play will be B|>oken an 
occasional Pkolooue. 

** The Proprietors having been at a great expense in 
fitting np the above Booth in a commodious mauoer, and 
being determined to use their utmost Efforts in getting 
np all the New Pieces jie rformed at the Theatres Royal 
in London last Winter ; hope to meet with the Encourage- 

ment of the Ladies and Gentlenirn, 4e., of Biniiingh»ni1 
and its Environs.— Boxe* 8s. — Pit 28, — Gals.. Is, 

" The Doors to be opened at Six, and to begin exact!/ 
at Seven o'clock, Suhscrit>tion Ticketa to be bad of Str,l 
Graham, at Mr. Heath's in Cross-Street ; of Mr Cpo», 
at Mrs. Gaatrill's, Upper Quoen-Stroct ; and of Mrs. 
Collins. — No Persona to be admitted behind the Scenes 

**N.B. The Days of perfonning this Week, are 
Monday, Tucstiay, Wednesday, and FriiUy ; *nd tor the 
future, Mondays, Wednesdays, and Friday only.' 

Thia building had but a brief exiBtence, 

fell a prey to the malice of some incendii 

wretch, and vf%& burnt to the ground, with all' 

the scenery, the greater part of the Company'B 

dresses, and other properties, on the 13th 

August in the same year. The building 

of timber, all efforts to extinguish the flames ^ 

fruitlei^s. The melancholy situation of the poor 

btinitnut players, and the kindly sympathy and 

aj^ii^tance accorded to them by the inhabitantB^J 

are well de^ril^ed by a correspondent of thfl^ 

Gnzettt^ who signs himself **No Player," itf 

follows : — 

*"To the PrinttTs of the Birmingham OasetU, — Bir- 
Tninglmnu August 24th, 1778. — It is with the sanccn 
P]t'Hj<ure that 1 congratulate th*> Fnbaldtauts of 
Town, on the singular honour tbey have done the! 
lluiiianity in contributing to the Relief of the unhapfif 
sutfei'ers by the late Fire. The situation of the Aoto; 
was indeed deplorable ; after having taken inBnite Pa: 
during the last Months,— after having done all in tha 
jxiwcr to alleviate the Distresiscs of some Individuals id 
this Town, by giving them Benefits, while the miaerahl 
Pittance aUowed to Themselves afforded them only a 1 
subsistence — just aa they wore in Expectation of 
Approach of their own Bene&ts, when they might halt 
shared a few Guineas to discharge their nuaroidah 
Debts ; — at such a critical juncture, to have their fou 
hopt's blasted at once, by a Calamity as shocking aa th 
Authors of it were wicked, must deeply affect every Uh 
not totally lost to every humane feeling. But the nob 
Generosity displayed by all Ranks of People npon 
occasion, transcends all praise ! Though obvioos i 
had prevented their encoumgement of the Theatre 
Moaeley, yet now every other consiileration gave way I 
the generous impulse of Benevolence, and the !' 
of both Houses evinced the strongest In i 
render Service to the unfortunate Players. Tb- J i 
too, to their immortal Honour, did not discountenanol 
the undertaking ; and tw^o Plays have been represent 
nt the New-street Theatre* with uncommon applause | 

'They Fcrfonnad Stiertdaa's Opera of "Tlie Duftana.*' «UI(4 
hmd been pUy«d (Ire tiniea preriooily* at the Conotrt Booth ; i 
the Par^e of " AJl Uie Wurl>rt a Sugo," 

i whether the Tioknt claps whidi shook the Housti 
loeedfid from a s^use of the Perform er'a merit, or com- 
^^ for their difttreaa is diSicalt to detemuue ; but 
^Hy «?ach of these motives had its shar« in producing 
^oeet. Thoiijjfh the Profits of the nights were not 
ite eqttfti to tlu) Eitigencias of the Company, yet they 
re considerable, and went a great way towards eitri- 
mg them from their liiflicultieB ; but if a further 
plicatioD waa to be made to the worthy Magistrates, 
1 leaTe obtatned for one or two plays more, at the 
Rg-ftreet Theatre (the Proprietors having with great 
Hi-nature made an offt?r of their House), there is no 
ubt but every Creditor would be satisfied, and the no 
ger unfortunate Actors might leave the Town with 
mfort And Reputation. 

*' I am, Your most obedient Serrant, No Player." 

The " worthy magistrates " granted permbsion 
the proprietors of the King Street Theatre for 

additional performance, which was given 
ring the following week, on behalf of Mr, 
•dso, "the biiilder and sole proprietor of the 
>eeley theatre." 
Thoae were the days in which ao actoi w^as 

reality the humble servant of the public, and 

old custom still lingered in the profession of 
Jing at the houses of their friends and patronSj 

order to sell tickets for benefits. In this 
mner the great Mra Siddons, when a member 

a country company of which her father, Eoger 
imbie, was manager, might have be^n seen, as 
Bcnbod bj an eye-witness, ** walking up and 
wn both sides of a street in a provincial town, 
dmed in a red woollen cloak, such as was 
rmerly worn by menial seirants, and knocking 

0Sich door to deliver the play-bill of her 
nefit." In the same spirit of almost senility, 
rs. Whitfield announces her beneEt in the 
mite, of July 26, 1784 :— 

'• Mrt, Whitfield prescnta her humble respects to the 
lies and gentlemen of Birmingham, having had the 
Hour of appraring Ijefoie them for four years, and never 
ring before troubled them, she hop«a it will not h* 
mght preaumptiie in her soliciting their patronage on 
rine ^flay next, which is appointed for her benefit ; and 
^^Uttfi upon varioua occa&ions experienced their itidul- 
^ftnd nrhanity, ahe now hopes for an opportunity to 
tiibwledgc their sfupport. Mrs. Whitfield thinks it 
nmbent on her to declare she would not have thought 
obtruding her name on the puhlic for a nighty hut 
|iP wi»« in poia««aion of two new pieces which she 
produce, hat Mr. Caiman hjia positively refuied 

to let them be done ; this Eihe was not aware of till it was 
too late to give up her night. She begs leave to inform 
the 01 tha play of Oroonoko, as it now stands corrected 
and pruned of every exceptionable passagei by David 
Garriak, Esq^., U one of the most affecting and moral 
dramatic pieces on the stage. 

*' Mr. Southern, by every critic of taate and judgment, 
was declared the most pathetic writer of his time ; hia 
play of Isabella, in which Mrs, Siddons haa made so great 
u ligure, is an extant and convincing proof of his genius ; 
yet, notwithstanding his intimney with thfi Tragic Muse, 
his pt>wers in Comedy were equally commanding, which, 
according to the fashion of that day, he has most happily 
blended in the present play ; the story is founded on a 
well known fact. The Farce of The Devil to Pay, 
written by the late Henry Fielding, of facetious memory, 
author of Tom Jones, &c., Ice, is too well known to need 
tt comment.*' 

In ihe same year Dr. Langford quotes an 
advert iaeiHent of an ''Annual Night for Orna- 
menting the Theatre " t^ 

** Annual Night for Ornamenting the Theatre 

(By their Majesties' Servants). 

At the Tbbatue in Kew Street, 


This Present Monday, June 28, 1784, 

Will be preasuted, a Comedy called 


Lovegold (the Miser) by Mr. YATES 

(Being his First Appearance this Season)." 

In August, 1787, the New Street Theatre seems 
to have heen the scene of sometliing like a play- 
house riot ; " bottles, plates, apples, &c/' having 
been thrown at the actors by the turbulent 
** gods " of the gallery. A reward was offered by 
the manager for the detection and apprehension 
of the offenders, but no further light is thrown 
upon the circumstance in the local journals. 

The Livery Street Amphitheatre, to which we 
have already made reference in our notice of the 
riots of 1791, waa occasionally used fox dramatic 
performances, 2>rincipally by amateurs ; and even 
after the burnt-out congregations of the two 
meeting-houses had taJien a portion of the building, 
the remainder was still used under the name of 
**the Gentleman's Private Theatre*" A somewhat 
apocryphal story is told respecting the occasional 
annoyances suffered by the worshippers, owing to 
the partition, which divided their portion of the 
building from that of the sons of The««pi», not 

iieftching to the roof ; the fitor}' says that '* while 
one of the huskin was bellowing, * Thoti'rt all a 
li^^ and false m helV the pious assembly on the 
Otlier side of the wall were alxnost n^nding the air 
with * Hallelujah, Hallelujah!"* This njight 
have been said, perhaps, had the worshippers 
been Methodists, but a Unitarian congregation is 
scarcely in the habit of ** almost rending the air,*' 
either with ** Hallelujah ** or any other exclama- 
tion, in their devotional exeicise^. Giving tliis 
anecdote, however, for what it is worth, the fact 
remains, tViat for some time after the riuta the 
building was tenanted by the players as well as 
the worshippers, as will be seen by the following 
advertisement, from the Gazette of January 14, 
1793 :— 


"Sport that wrinkled Cure dcridca. 

And Laujflitfr, Lokliug both his sides." 

At the G en tlotn all's Private T heft t re, in Livery Street^ on 

"Wedueedajj January 16, 1793, will be prwcnt^d for the 

first time lo Binningham, 

€oLLiNs's Kew Embellished 


For nibbing off The Rust of Cate, 

As exhibited Fifty-two Nights lost Winter, at the Ly^'eum, 

in London, to overQowiug Ho uses, niter One Hundred 

ind Ninety- four Repetitions of the Brnsh in its original 

8tat^, at the Royalty Theatre, ^nd the Lyceum before, 


The whole interspersed with tbe following New and 
Original Ronp : The Brush, Tlie Kin;*, The Stiige Coach, 
The Glorious Ninety-three, John Bull, Prospect of To* 
Diorrow, Giuiblet-eyed Eitty, England a Alarm, Uodney a 
Dirge, Tragic'comic Murder, Von Two Tree Leetel Vorda 
a la Francoise, and the History of England through Two 

and Thirty Reigns, a copious Subject short in Detail ! 

Hoora open at Half after Six ; Begin exactly at Seircn 

Admittance Two Shillings. 

The House will be completely aired, aa two large Stovea 
will be kept constantly burning every Day, and have 
been BO for several Days pikst. 

N.B,— Convenient Lights placed in the Court Yard 
ki4lng to the Theatre. 

The author of **Tiie Brush '^ was, as our readers 
will have noticed, from the songs introduced 
therein, no other than our worthy local poet, John 
Collins. We do not purpose entering into a 
biography of the writer here, as that will come in 
due course in our next chapter of local worthies ; 
but by tht kindniss of Mr. Sam : Timmina (who 

i?s the author's originAl MS. of TJteBmth^) 
enabled to give an outline of the eoSor- 
tainment itself. 

The author's purpose in this lecture, was^ 
off some of ** tlie fuUie^, vices, and absurditie 
the age," as '^performed off and on the stf^" 
"We beat the bushes," he says, **for no betler 
game than what may be sprung within tJie 
of a Theatre, but though our object is to potat oa 
and expose, stnge imposters, yet not one illib 
idea against tbe true professors of it, provid 
they will move in a sphere adapted to th« 
abUities. For, to all be it known, (ptonotmce j 
a pun if you please,) I honour the pillars. <d X\ 
stage, altho' I think it no ciime tut expose 
Caterpillars of it/' Then foUowa a ptoioguc^ ] 
verse, the last stanza of which is as follows j 

** You've ftU heard the story, no doubt, of poor &m 
Who one morning was found laid out dead on the mififw^ \ 
Enouing no honest way how from starving to keep, 
His brush being lost, and his living nbo ; 
Then put uie in his plaoe, and the very aamotsftse. 
Must be mine, if ray Ulioura the Crittca should crush i 
Then for charity spare, lest his fate I should share. 
For like poor little aweep, Tveno breed but my Brmkf 

Talking pleasantly of amateur actors^ tho 
lecturer teUs an amusing story of a stage-strud 
taOor who called upon Garrick with the reque 
that he might be permitted to play the part of 1 
hero in ** Bomo and Juliet/* The actor^ hay 
refeiTed the would-be **Romo" to the descrij] 
of the huge Colossus bestriding the kzy pacin 
clouds, said, "Pray tell me, air, when this ha 
Colossus was bestriding thoae clouds, which wafl 
would you go, (now supposing his stride to havn 
been much upon a par with a middling-^iied 
rainbow), I say, sir, which way would you 
about to measure him for a pair of .btiaficliear^ 
" Make a pnir of br©ocbe& for a rainbow V^t 
the astonished snip, "why I don*t believe 
taylois in London ever did 4UAh » thiag jn I 
lives, and I'm sure I eotdd asiioon -mAt *ftptir' 
for thp Man in the Moon !*'— "Thenjuiyf, jir, 
how came you to think of nnddttdksng mj 
business, when you are not master of your own f 
Collins then adds a droll parody of Macbeth't 

the ghost of Baii«iuo, altered to suit 
litened tailor, who ** went off in a tangent, 
Sfly cuied of his passion for the stage, and 
■ed for the future to stick to his shop-board," 
iries of stage-alips, absurd alterations of text, 
ifulnese, and other amusing incidents of 
ictd life render the lecture more tba» a mete 
[|g*t entertainment. Only a few of these, 
reft can be quoted here. The fii^t tells how 
of these imperfect gentlemen" had to 
the lines — 

I Now future fiime posterity shall tell 
f Ko couple lived ao happy, died ao well,'* 

yd^a Ail for Love (an alteration of 
are's Antcmij and Chopatra), Instead 
however, **he came forward, hitching 
s small clothe-s, and wiping his nose on the 
of his hand, and in his usual manner said, 

Now fame shall tell pocterity that — 
Poiitflrity shall tell Fame — no — 
Fame shall tell Posterity— «wi. 

^ No 


niopped the curtain and there was an ei^d 
e play." 

fhe very same gentleman,'* adds Collins, 
srwards in the Norwich Theatre, came 
uxl to give out the play for the next night, 
ing, bj particular desire, for the benefit of 
ox-keeper, and the last night of performing 
season, which he gave out literally in the 
ring manner :— Ladies and Gentlemen — 
ftmnd below^ — ^to-morrow evening will be 
Bted the celebrated Comedy of — of — the 
sdy of — of — no — Opera of— of — the play 
if — the play-bills to-morrow will tell you all 
i it To which will be added tho farce of 

fe pantomine of — the entertEdnment — of 
to be done after the play, it being by 
mlnr deaire of the Box-keeper and for the 
\Qi the last night of the season ! " 
' aeveial droll stories touching the mutter 
Qciation and ptinctuation, — both on and 
\ atage, — the author again returns to the 
of memory on the part of actors, 
ghter-moying anecdote of the early 

days of Foote, when **the English Aristophanes*' 
played Hamlet on his own benefit night, at BatL 
"He limped tolerably well through the play in 
his own way till he came to the scene of the 
quarrel in the laat act, with Laertes, and in 
repeating the lines : 

* WJmt is the reason that you use me thua I 
1 lov'd thee — hut 'tis no matter- 
Let Hercules himself do whAt he may, 

The cat will mew, the dog will have hii day.* 

loBtead of which, in his usual way, he says : 

* Wbftt is the reason that you use me thus I 
I lov'd thpe — but 'tis no matter — 

Let Hercides himself do what he may, 
Tlie dog will mew — eh \ no, that's wrong — ' 
'The cat will bark^ Bark! no, that's th# dog,— the 
dog will b^rk — eh f no, that^s the dog again — the ca-t — 
the dog — the cat — Pshaw 1 d — u the dog, and the cat 
too — Ladi«8 and gentlemeu, it is something about 
harking and CHttenrauling^ hut, as I ho|)e to be saved, 1 
know nothing about the matter. ' ** 

The author t|uaintly concludes his characteriatic 
entertainment with the following anecdote : — 
"There was one of the Norwich company, a 
very eccentric character, who was a tolerable 
clasaical scholar, and took no small pains in 
flashiug his leaming, but to his eham^e be it 
spoken, was never known to be perfect in hia 
part This gentleman had formerly been a 
bombardier in the train of Artillery, and his 
common expression on all occaftiona, whenever 
he was gravellM for lack of matter, was — * Blow 
me out of the world.* One evening, walking ou 
for the part of Richmond » with all hie followers 
at lii.** heels, when he should have begun : 

* Thus far into the bowels of the* land 
Flare we march' d on without impediment * — 

and so on to the end of the chapter aa he shoidd 

have done, he says : 

' Thus for into the bowels of the earth *— 

Earth instead of land, but that is much the same 

you*U say — 

*Thus far into the bowols of the earth, — 
I day— I have got thua for into the 
Bowels of the earth— and— and'— 
* Blow me out of the world if I can marcn a foot further 1' 


OLD AND NEW BIEMINGHAM* tTh« Ttmtre i« butou 


In like manner I find it a diffitult matter to 
carry a recital of these fuibles any further, and 
shall therefore beg leave to difimias my audience 
with the sequel to * Queen Bess's Golden Days — 
or, the Golden Days wc now possess.' " 

And with this song out old poet and enter- 
tainer closes his most amusing monologue, and 
doubtless never failed to send his audience home 
wishing it were longer. *Some of the songs he 
introduces we shall quote in our notice of his 
life and writings. 

And now to return to the theatre. The last 
event of note of which we purj^ose making 
mention in the present cliapter is one which 
for a time cast a gloom over theatrical 
entertainments in the town for many months, 
viz., the burning of the New Street The- 
atiew According to tlie Gnzdie, there had 
already been several ineil'ectual attempts to set 
fire to the building, but at length the villainous 
plot met with success, and a little after one 
o'clock on the morning of Friday, August 17, 
1792, the theatre was in Mames, which ** issued 
from the front and every part of the building, 
and illimiinatcd the whole town/* All attempts 
to save it were fruitless ; in about foui' hoars 
there remained nothing whatever of the principal 
theatre in the town except the blackened walls. 

** That the Theatre was malicioualy act on fire,** &aya 
the Gasette, of Aug. 20, ** there cannot be tk doubt. 
Those wbo had the coumgo to enter it found door* open 
which were locked when the house was left hy the nervauta 
the precoding cvoning, and they observed the fire htid 
been lighted, and was burning with equal fury, in three 
different poits of the premises, widely distant from, and 
withont any conimunictttioii with, each other; but what 
could be the motive of the perpetrators of this horrid net 
cannot be conceived. With u view, however, of dis- 
covering the vilUinons nnthors of ao iniquitous a dced» 
the PropriL^tora have offered a reward of 200 guineas, 
which wo truat will bring them to light, and to the 
punisliment tbey so justly merit.'* 

The poor players were, of course, great BufTerers 
in this calamity, by the loss of their wardrobes. 
The Gazette report says, ** the dresses of all of 
them were entirely burnt, except Mr. Marshall a, 

mesL. n 


who had the intrepidity to enter the diwiiiig- 

room, and rescue his clothes from tlie flamet*^ 

Amongst other sufferers in this respect was 

famous comedian Suett, who was a great 

collector, and bad assumed, in one of his 

formonces at the theatre, a large black x^^k^ 

with flowing curJs, that had once been the prcn 

perty of Charles IL **He had purchased thi* 

curious relic," says Mr. Dutton Cook, **at thfi 

sale of a Mr, Eawle, ^accoutrement maker tfl 

George IIL WTien the wig wa3 submitt^ for 

sale, Suctt took possession of it, and, putting it^ 

on hiB head, began to bid for it with a graTJt; 

that the hy-standers found to be irre&istiblj 

comical. It was at once declared that the irif^ 

should become the actor's property upon hi* own 

terms, and it was forthwith knocked down t6 

liim by the auctioneer." It need scarcely be md 

that tlie lo6s of a relic so highly -jirized was a 

matter of considerable griof to the actor. Wltlfl 

a mournful expression of eoimte nance he wonltl 

say to e very-one he met, ** My wig*s gone 1 " 

possessed one of the most valuable stock of 

in the profession. 

In the same issue of the Gazette in whid 

appeared the account of the fire, was inserted tM 

following annotmcement : 

August 20, 1792. The late dromiful^fini in New i?li 
having deprived severnl Perronners of the aceiiston 
Advanti^es arising from their re.sf>ective Benefit^,— tl 
Gentlemen of the Private Theatre in Livery Street, bAf( 
generously stepiwd forward in this Hour of Diatrtrs, i 
have liberally offered to the Company the Use of tlid 
Theatre for the above purpose. The public i^, lh«rwfai 
reapectJully iufonncd that the said Theatre, after harin 
been accorately surveyed, is undergoing Alterations wbjch 
will make it capable of contiiining near 500 Persons ; kit 
that those Ladies and Geutlemon who wish to piitionttt 
this Undertaking may meet with every posaible coa^ 
vcnience, Tickets for iOO only will be issued. 

It will perhaps be appropriate here to allow- 

curtain to fall for the present on the higtoiy 

tlie local stages, so that the next chapter on 

subject may open naturally with the rebuild 

of the principal theatre. 

* d SookitftJu Fkiy, by nntton ComK. vol a p. 5d, 







tawUfH v( WatU'* tmUmi to 180«>— The flrat engino^^ohn Wllldnion— DlfflruUiei with Uia Soho Workmen— The " Waggon and 
H(WM*"— WilliAtn Munlooh utd hii "tlmmfr** b«t— His lo<:omotivc onglcc— DUeovery of Oin-llghtlng— niamtnjitlona at Soho— 
BtMit'M Dtscriptiob of Boho— Thd Now Foundry— Duntii of Boalt>n— His Funeral— Dcnth of Watt—Chjuitrny* Statue In Handa- 
vtirth Churclk 

Wk now rettirn tu Solio, 

*• Where Genius wid the Arts preside, 

Eoropft's wonder, and Britannia's prido/' ^ 

Our first instalment of the story of this great 
©nUirpmo t loft off at the dute of the first attempts 
on lite part of Messrs. Boulton and Watt to 
manufactiire steam engine.^ for sole. 

The Act for extending Watt's patent, vRsting 
In him '*the sole use and property of certain 
sttsam-eiuginos, commonly calM fire-engines, of 
hi* invention," for twenty -five years, was obtained 
in 1775 ; and now tlio founder of Soho fL4t that 
he could proceed with confidence in the raann- 
f«W!tnre of ** power/' PreWous to the passing of 
the Act, he had told Watt "he was afraid to 
sink many more thousands, in case a hetter'engine 
appears, and then what becomes of all tlie fabric 
we have raised and of the visionary profitsi" 
To have launched into the neceBsarOy heavy 
expenditure involved in the manufactme of the 
eiearo engine, wiUtout dut* protaction^ would have 
been niinon*, but now Lhut the Act was ob- 
tained, Boulton writee to his partner, **I have 
made up my mind to make from twelve to fifteen 
redprocating engines, and fifty rotative^engines, 
per anniun. If we liad 100 wheels ready, and 100 
I imaJl engines like Bow (Liptrup*s), we could 
^ leadily dispose of them ; tberefore» * let us make 
I hay while the sun shines/ and before the dark 
dotad id age lowers upon na, and before any more 
Tabal Caina, or Doctor Fauata, or Gainsboro^s 

• BlaM»t'ii Poetit? Surrejr ratuid OlnaUmHaai, 

arise, with serpents lik*3 Jloses^ that destroy all 

When it became known that the 8oho finn 
were prepared to supply Watt's *' fire engine," 
orders came in from all quarters, and "before 
long," says Mr. Smiles, "the works at Soho 
were rebounding with the clang of hammers an^l 
machinery, employed in manufacturing steam 
engines for all parts of the civilised world/' 
The iirst engine made at Soho was one onlered 
by John Wilkinson, to blow the bellows of Ins 
ironworks at Broseley. This engine was, of 
course, the subject of special interest, both to 
mnsttrs and workmen, as all concerned felt that 
ranch of the future success of the Soho foimdry 
would depend upon the manner in which their 
first engine was turned out fUhers, too, were 
anxiously looking forward to see what Boulton 
and Watt's engine could do, — the neighbouring 
iron manufacturers, who were contemplating the 
erection of Newcomen engines, waited with eager 
interest until the new engine had been erected at 
John Wilkinson's works. 

" When the materials were all ready at Soho," 
says Mr. Smiles, " they were packed up and sent 
on to Broseley. AVatt accompanied them, to 
superintend their erection. He had as yet no 
assistant to whom he could entrust such work, — 
on the results of which so much depended. The 
engine was erected and ready for use about tbe 
beginning of 1776. As it approached completion, 
Watt became increasingly anxious to make a trial 
of its powers. But Boulton wrote to him not to 



[Tbif Story al6ftte 

huTxy — not to let the engine make a stroke until 
every possible hindrance to ita eiiccesafiil action 
had been removed; * and then/ said he, * in 
the name of God, fall to and do your best/ The 
result of the extreme care taken with the con- 
stniction and erection of the engine was entirely 
satisfactory. It worked to the admiration of all 

In Augnet, 1776, Watt removed with 
family to Begent's Place, HaqDcr's Hill, wi 
was then the nearest house to Sobo on that sid 
of Birmingham ; an engraving of it appean 
page 139, 

Wliile Watt was at Broseley, Boulton 
pushing on with the new buildings at Soho, i 

MJt r 



who saw it, and the ftrnie of lioultoii and Watt 
became great in the Midland Coimti«^s." 

John Wilkinaon's name is worthy of honourable 
mention in the history of Soho, for the valnahle 
fierviceft rendered by him to Eoulton and Watt^ at 
a time when they were compelled to sink large 
snms of money— nmoimting to nearly ^47,000 
in all — in perfecting and introducing the steam- 
engine. During this period of hea\^^ expenditure 
be supplied them with all the necessary castings 
for the work to an unlimited extent, waiving all 
payment until the success of the Boulton and 
Watt engine was established. 

which to carry on the miinufacture of ** power. 
Writing to liis partner, he soya^ **Tbe new 
forging-sbop looks very farmidable ; the roof 
nearly put on, and the hearths are both bu 
, , . , Pray tell Mr. Wilkinson to got 
do2on cylinders cast and bored, from 12 to 
inches diameter, and as many condenser^ 
suitable sizes. The latter must Ik) sent here, I 
we will keep them ready fitted up^ and then i 
engine can be turned out of band in two or 1 
weeks, I have fixed my mind upon making i 
twelve to fifteen reciprocating and fifty rotati^ 
engines per annum. / astfitn yua (Jtat i^ oU ^| 

TbvBtorfaf ioliiD.] 



Uyys aftd trinkets tchich we manufaeiure td 86ha^ 
mme *kall take the place of fire-mgines in retpeei 

In the words italicised Boulton seema to have 
giTfin his partner a glimpse at the dreams in 
which he doubtless indulged — ^dreains which were 
dntmed to have a glorious ful^hnent — of the 

obtained them. The first difficulty thty overcame 
by con lining the men to special classes of work, 
carrying the division of labour to the farthest 
possible point ; \i^ continued practice in the same 
narrow groove, the men acquired considerable 
proficiency in their special department of work. 
The second difficulty, however, was one which 


brilliant future in store for the Soho Foundry \ 
when the two men,— the noble, enthusiastic, and 
enteprising manufacturer, and the quiet, nervous, 
modast inventor, — should really be investeil with 
llaa authority of kingship, dispensing the means 
of eflecting a complete conquest of the world of 
xuiture and science. 

For a time one of the greatest difficulties 
experienced by the Soho Firm in their new under- 
taking was that of obtaining skilled workmen ; 
another was that of keeping them when they had 

*8oalt0a ItSa. quot«(l tn SmlUV iac# 0/ BoufCan ond WaU^ 
(i»ilj«rtdlti(i]v p.p. l»-a;) 

required all the tact and spirit of Matthew Boulton 
to cope with it There were tempters from 
abroad, continually lurking about Soho, offering 
heavy bribes to obtain access to the works ; and 
still heavier to lure away skilled workmen. The 
** Waggon and Horses *' Inn, at Hands worth, was 
the scene of many a temptation on the part of the 
** intelligent foreigner," sent out by his Govern* 
ment to worm out the secrets of Soho ; and more 
than once of a defeat for the Soho firm. It was 
here Pickard picked up the idea of the crank steam 
engine, and thus forestalled Watt in the use of 
that improvement. But it it satLsfactory to find 




that the imscrupiilouB picker and stealer of other 
men's brains made but little of bus patent, while 
the fame of Boultou and Watt, and the demand 
for their engines, increasetl year by year. 
** While," say** Mr. Tinimins, **the nervDUft, 
anxious Watt dreaded every new order that came, 
— ^hoped some limit would be placed » wanted to 
sell his interest in the patent fur the bare coat of 
time and labour; the energetic, feurless, bnive 
Boulton grappled with every difficulty, and finally 
surmounted aD. . . . In every relation of 
their long connection, the cool, clear he^d and 
sagacious skill of Boulton were the mainstay 
of his delicate and norvo^is friend. The two 
partners were over on the very best of terms, 
although Boul ton's patience muat sometimes have 
been severely tried. His bold and vigorous 
policy always prevailet! ; aud whatever the modest 
genius of Watt devised^ the enterprise nnd ener^^ 
of Matthew Boulton brought thoroughly before 
tlie world," 

In the midet mT Iuh difhcultie^ in tlie matter of 
his workmen, Boultou was fortunate enough to 
meet with oue who gave promise of becoming n 
thoroughly trustworthy workman, and a ujost 
valuable helper, a young Scotsman, William 
Jturdoch, (or Murdock,) who had, like many of 
his fellow-conntrymen, travelled to England in 
search of employment. His manner of introduc- 
tion to the father of Soho is thus related by Mr. 

"When Miudock calleti at Soho in the year 
1777, to ask for a job, Watt was from homo, but 
he saw Boulton, who was usually accessible to 
callers of every rank. In answer to Murdock's 
inquiry whether he could have a job, Boidton 
replied that work was slack with them, and that 
everj^ place was filled up* During the brief con- 
versation that ensued, the blate young Scotchman, 
like most country lads in the presence of strangarsy 
had some diflficulty in knowing what to do with 
his hands, and unconsciously kept twirling hia 
hat with them, Boulton's attention was directed 
to the twirling hat, which seemed to be of a 

peculiar make. It was not a felt hat, nor a Mk 
hat, nor a glazed hat ; but it seemed to be painted^ 
and composed of some unusual material * That 
seems to be a curious sort of hat,' said Boidti 
looking at it more closely; * why, what is it ma 
of?" 'Timmer, sir,' said Murdock, mode 

• Timmer ! Do you mean to say that it is 
of wood? ' * Yes, sir.* * Pray, h^^tr was it made! 

* I turned it myseV, sir, in a bit lathoy of my oti 
making/ Boulton looked at the young man aga 
Re had risen a hundred degrees in his eatimatia 
He wtis tall, good-looking, and of open 
ingenuous countenance j and that he had beenal) 
to timi a wooden hat for himself in a lathe of 1 
own making was proof enough that be was i 
mechanic of nomean skilL * You may call j 
my man/ said Boulton. ' Thank you, sir/ 
Murdock, giving a final twirl to his hat*' 

When next the young Scotsman called he waii 
at once put upon a trial job, which, proving satis- 
factory, gained for him a* permanent situation, i 
fifteen shillings per week. 

Mitnloch soou proved himself worthy of * 
fide nee, and was despatched to Cornwall, wii 
many Boulton engines were at work in dramu 
the mines, aud had hitherto required the alma 
constant presence of Jame« Watt. While livii^ 
in Cornwall, as resident engineer, Murdoch turnei 
his attention to the subject of the locomotif 
engine, and actually brought the idea to a ( 
degree of perfection, as was evidenced by a modd 
which, as soon aa he had finished, he tried wit] 
success, in the long avenue leading to Kedrtitl 
Church; **and in doing so," says Mr. Sb 
•'nearly frightened out of his wits the villa 
pastor, who encountered the hissing, fiery, htd 
machine^ while enjnying his evening walk/' 
Murtiuch had not the qualities of Bo' 
was rather of Watt's modest, retiring lir ^ 
— and oonseciuenUy the locomotive fell 
oblivion until ( Jeorge Stephenson took it in 
and carried the project to a successful issue. 

W^hen Mm*doch returned to Soho, he wa« 
invested with the general supervision and manage- 




le mechanical department, and in this 

\B was enabled to further justif}^ the 

and esteem in which he was held by 

le introduced 8everal valuable improvo- 

tbe manufacture of the st^am -engine, 

embodied in a patent taken out by 


invention by wliich his name will 

perpetuated waB that of lighting by gas, 

ble qualities of coal gas had long 

, but it was left for William Murdoch 

le knowledge to practical uses. During 

Winter evenings at Eedruth, he tinned 

lion to this subject, and dreamed of the 

prtificial light of the future — which now 

itined to be eclipsed in its turn by one 


m- 1808, Murdoch says ; — 

nearly sixteen years since (1792), 

trso of experiments I was making at 

in Cornwall, Upon the quantities and 

I the gas produced by distillation from 

laineral and vegetable aubstances, that I 

leed by some observations I had pie- 

iiade upon the burning of coal, to try 

ibie property of the gases produred 

well as from peat, wood, and other 

Ae substances; and, being struck with 

quantities of gas which they afforded, 

the brilliancy of the light, and the 

ite production, I instituted several 

its with a view of ascertaining the cost 

might \m obtained, compared with that 

quantities of light yielded by oils and 

My apparatus consisted of an iron ret^jrt, 

iron and copper tubes, through which 

m& conducteil to a considerable distance ; 

I aa well as at intermediate points, was 

rough apertures of various forms and 

The experiments were 'made upon 

t qualities, which I procured from 

of the kingdom for the purpose of 

which would give the most economical 

•pMflSl Ko, 1940, Aug. ». ITM. 

r^ults. The gas was also washed with water, 
and other means were employed to purify it." 

He was not long in putting his discovery to a 
practical use, by lighting with gas his offices and 
house at Redruth ; and also, in same homely spirit 
of contrivance which prompted him to make for 
himself a " timmer hat," constructed a portable 
gns lantern, wliifli he supplied witli gas from a 
bladder feed imderneath* With this he lighted 
himself home at night, across the moors to 
Kedruth. When he returned to Boho, in 1798, 
he continued his investigations, and on the 
occasion of the celebration of the Peace of 
Amiens, in 1802, the front of the manufactofy 
was brilliantly illuminated with gas, to the 
astonishment and deliglit of the inhabitants. The 
Gazette gives the following description of the 


which for elegance uiid boldness of deaigu, grandeur of 
effect, and prompt nesa of execntioDj mil remain uiiequiilksl 
aniODgst tlie numerous testimonies of joy tUsployed on the 
liappy occasion of returniog peace. The well known taste 
tmd abilities of the liberal proprietors of those premises 
had given the public every reason to anticipate a very 
jiuperb and brilliant exhibition ; acconiingly, early in the 
afternoon, the road from thi^ town was crowded with 
passengers. The gates of the gardens were thrown open 
and gavu iidtnittancc to many thousands of spectatora, of 
whom, it is bat jnatico to observe^ that Huch was their 
orderly behaviour, that tbt'y departed almost without 
breaking either ahnib or tree, or doing any damage. The 
house was adorned on the summit of the roof by a mag- 
nificentjbtar, composed of variegated lamps, and the centre 
window was embellished by a beautiful transparency, in 
gloss, of a female figure, in the attitude uf offering a 
thanksgiving for tho returo of peace. The manufactory 
was illuminated throughout its spacious front with 
upwanis of 2,600 coloured lamps, disposed into the forms 
of G,B., with the word ** Peace," above which was placed 
the crown, ■wiih a star of exquisite brilliancy. In the 
centre of the front, a transparency represented a dove, 
the emblem of peace, descending on the globe } on the 
left wing, another repr«fiented the Caduceus of Alercury 
between two Cornucopias; and on the right, a l>eehiv© 
decorated with flowers. In addition to the above, three 
very splendid Mongol fier balloons ascended in succeBsion 
from the courtyard within the manufactory at proper 
intervals, on a signal from the discharge of cannon. 
Numbers of sky-rockets also tended to enrich the scene. 
The whole gave the greatest satisfaction, and produced, 
in the minds of the spectators, tokens of admiration and 
sentiments of respect for the muni£cent projector. 
Every house in the neighbourhood wbm also splendidly 

OltiminLitcd ; and all the worktueu belonging to th« 
mwnafactory were regaled at public housea. 

We have alrcsody mentioned Boulton'a copper 
coinage^ in the preyious chapter of the «tory of 
Soho; it will not he necessary, therefore, for ns 
to make further reference to this department of 
the busy " toyshop " of Soho, except to quote 
the opinion of Boulton'a illustrious partner on 
thi« matter. He says, " If Mr. Boulton had 
done nothing more in the world than he has 
accomplialied in improving the coinage, bis name 
would deserre to he immortalized; and if it be 
considered that this was done in the midst of 
various other important avocations, and at an 
enormous expense — for which at the time he 
could have no certainty of an adequate return— 
we shall he at a loea whether more to admire his 
ingenuity, his perseverance, or hia munificence. 
He has conducted the whole more like a sovereign 
than a private manufacturer; and the love of fame 
has always been to him a greater stimulus than 
the love of gain." 

It were almost imposdihle heR\ in this brief 
sketch of the greatest enterprise over conducted 
by a private firm, to deal fully with the many 
and varied products of what has been aptly termed 
** the world of Soho ; ^' but in order to give the 
leader a faint idea of the extent and variety of 
tlie Soho manufactory, we give from Bisset*8 
'* Magniticout Directory " a list of the several 
distinct ** interests " concerned therein : — 

**M. BouUon a fid Button Co.— Buttons in General. 
Bmdttm and Smiths. — Buckles^ Latchet's, iIt. 
M, BouHon and Plate Co. — Silver and Plated 

M. Boulton — -Mint for Govemmt, Coin. 
M. B^ultarL — Medalsj Roll'd Metals, Ac. 
aM. BouUoiu — Mercantile Trade iu BirmiEghanL 
Bouiton, Wattf 4t Soni, — Iron Foundry, & Steam 

J, Wait ^ Co* — Letter Copying Machines.** 

In the ** Poetic Survey" appended to this 
I>ire<itory, (of which we shall have more to say in 

OOP next chapter^) the author thus deacribsA tin 

residence of Matthew Boulton, at Soho : 

** On yonder gentle dope, wJucli ihrab* »doni, 

Wher« grew of kte, ' rank we^de,' gorae, Hag, and ihAm 

Now pendant woods, *nd shady groToa are »een, 

And nature there assumes a nobler mien. 

There verdant lawnt, cool grots, and pe»cefii] bcwH 

Luxuriant, now, are atrew'd with aweeteit flow'm, 

Reflected by the lake, which spreads bdow, 

All Nature smiles around— there stitndfi So no ! " 

From die contemplation of this seemingjy 

charming abode, he turns to the manufactciy ; 

"Soho— Where GEMirs and the Arts preside, 

EraopA'a wonder and Britanwu'r pride ; 

Thy matchlett works haye raised Old EngUiid*! ^*m^ 

And future ages will record tby name ; 

Each n'val Nation absll to tbee resign 

The Palm of Taste, and own— 'tis justly thine j 

Whilst Commerce shall to thee an altar nise, 

And infant Genius learn to hsp thy praise : 

Whilst Art and Science reign, they'll still proclaim 

Trine • ever blended, with a BouLTON'a name." 

Following the "Poetic Survey/' m the si 
Yolmne, is an allegory in Tsrse^ entitled **Tbi 
Ramble of the Gods through Birminghium,"' which 
contains another, and more interesting, notice of 
Soho. The Gods having visited Henry Clay'i 

** They next resolv'd with speed to go, 

To nsit Boulton's, at the great So ho, 

The wonders of that magic plikce explore, 

And with attention, view its beauties o'er. 

They went— but Here description faHs, I ween. 

To tell you half the curious worka there seen. 

Suffice it then, such sceneii were there displayed. 

The Gods, with rapture fraught, the whole sim-ey'd: 

Their Names they wrote, and saw, with great siifim. 

Fal" Similes that moment, strikes their eyes ; 

Whikt at the Mint, th' invention of the MtLL, 

Seemed as if Coin wss form'd by maglo akilL 

But when the ponderoua Engines wsrs survey *d— 

They ev'ry tribute due to merit paid j 

Then, with reluctance, forc'd themselves awaVi 

Eesolv'd to see all that they could by day/* 

The great demand for the "ponderous engines" 
rendered it necessary to provide a 8Cpa»t« 
building in which to manufacture them, and oo 
the 28th of January, 1796, the Soho Fotm^iry 
was ** dedicated *' with considerable oeomnony, ^ 
will be seen from the following report, which 
appeared in the Gastetie of Janmary 30ih tn tliat 
year: — 


pdity Ust the Rcariijj* Feast of the new Foundn-, 
I by Messrs. liotilton, Wntt, nnd Sons, iit 
t, wns given to tht< engine-smiths, and fdi Iho 
anen emploved in tlie erection. 
ihepp(the first fruit* of th^ newly-cidtivated 
bo> were sacrificed stt tbu Altar of Vtxlcan, and 
ie Cyclops in the Grtat Hftll of the Teniidc, 
f feet wide and 100 feet long. These two great 
iiihed with nimps and rounds of beef, 
id gammons of bacon, with innumerable 
Bid idum puddings, accoropanied \rith a gpod 
tmttial nuisie* When dinner was over, the 
f Boho entered and consecmtcd this new bmnch 
crinkling the walls with wine, and then, in the 
tlcan, and all the Gods and GoddesHes of Fire and 
lltounced the name of it Soho Fouiidr)% and all 
I cried Amen. A benediction vftm then pro- 
y him nfwn the undertaking, and a thanks- 
h»d for the protection and presenation of the 
limhA of the workmen during the erection, 
tnonies being ended, six cannon were discharged 
knd of Muaic stnick up God Save the King, 

sung in full chorus by two hundred loyal 
After this, many toasts were given suitable to 
^t by the President of the Feiisit, Mr. M. 
BoultoQf whicli was conducted by him witli 
t ivod hilarity ; each toast was accompanied 
joyont huzzas and a discharge of cannon. A 
tea, was given in the evening to Venus and the 
lich ended about ten o clock, when the con- 
ns were fired, and all departed in good humour, 
iresB of Mr. Boulton, Sen., upon entering the 
maa conceived in the following terms : — After 
I excuB^ to the company for not dining with 
Md, '* 1 could not deny myself the satisfaction 
yoQ a happy and joyouiu day, and expressing 

for all good, honest, and faithful workmen, 
W^ alwaya considered as classed with my best 

now as the Father of Soho, to consecrate this 
le of its branches ; I also come to give it a name 

therefor© proceed to purify the walla of it, by 
[ing of wine, and in the name of Vulcan and all 
md Goddesses of Fire and Water, I pronounce 
of it Soho Foundry, May that name endure 
td ever, and let all the people say Amen, Amen. 
Pomple now having a name, I i*il! propose that 
ahftll fill hh pitcher, and drink success to Soho 

hen proc<*eded to give the Elstablishraent his 
I i — ^"May this Establishment," said he, ^' be 
proiis, may no misfortune ever happen to it, 
fo birth to many useful arts and inventions, 
&VC beneficial to mankind, and yield comfort 
less to all who may be employed in it. 
2i%mith cannot do without hi* Striker, so 
i tba Master do without his M'orkman. Let 


eJich perform bis jmrt welU 'md do their duty in that 
state to which it hath pleased God to call them, and this 
th^y will find to b<j true rational ground of equality* 

** Que serious word more, and then I have done. I 
cannot let pass this day of festivity, without observing 
that these large i>iks of building have beeu erected in « 
short time, in the moat inclement season of the year, 
without the loss of one life, or any material accident. 
Therefore let as olTt^x up our grateful thanka to the Divine 
Protector of all things, without whose permission not a 
sparrow fatletb to the ground. Let us Chaunt Hallelujnhs 
in our hearts for these blessings, and with oar voices, like 
loyal subjects, sing God Save Great George our King!" — 
Which was done in full chorus, and amidst the discharge of 
the cannon." 

Our story of the Soho enterprise may fitly close 
with the eighteenth contiiry itself, at which date, 
the patent on the engine expiring, the partnersliip 
hetwcon the two great master-minds of the firm 
was dissolved, and the business formally passed 
into the hands of the younger members of the 
two families. But the ** Iron Chieftain " and the 
patient, thoughtful inventor still continued to 
take an interest in the concerns of the nmnu- 
fact^ry, preferring to ^* ruh " rather than to 
" rust " out. Matthew Eoiilton died, at the ripe 
age of eighty-one, on the 17th of August, 1809 j 
he was buried in Handsworth Church, on the 
24th of the same month. The funeral was 
attended by upwards of 700 persons, and included 
500 workmen and sixty women employed in the 
manufactoiy. A curious old pampldet describing 
the ceremony was issued by the undertaker, 
Mr, George Lander, in order to vindicate himself 
from certain charges of extortion and of supplying 
inferior materials, made against him by Matthew 
Robinson B<Julton, the son of the Founder of 

With the quarrel we have nothing to do now ; 
it is wtdl forgotten, and all who were oonceined 
therein liavo gone the way of him over whose last 
obsequies they quarrelled* 

From the pamphlet we learn that a special 
medal wm struck in commemonition of the 
illustrious founder, and was given to every percon 
who was present at the funeraL 

James Watt survived bia friend and partner 

just ten years, dying on the 25111 of August, 1819, 
at the ago of eighty-three* IIo was burietl near 
Boulton, in Uandsworlh Church, and a noble 
raonuHient marks Ms resting place, erected to his 
mcmoiy by the filial piety of his son, James Watt. 
" This fine work," says Mr, W, Bates, ** is the 
ma«ter-piece of the greatest of British sculptors 
— Chantxey, and consists of an appropnate grey 
niarblij pedestal, on wliich, in a sitting posture, 
and ordinary costume, is the statue of Watt, in 
fine white marble. The attitude is unconstramed ^ 
the right hand holds a compass ; the left, a sheet 
of paper, on which the face — a very personification 
of abstract thought — is intently fixed : and gazing 
at it, as we have done, in the mystery of twilight, 
and the solemn stillness of its shrine, one 
may well imagine that the cold fonn, Hke the 
wondrous statue of Pygmalion, is gradually 
becoming instinct with the hues of life and 
intelligence, and that it is Watt himself in the 
act of eliminating the sublime conception that 
immorUUizes his name, — 

"The mortiil luid the marble arc at strife, 
And timidly^ expanding into life, " 

A statue, almost, if not quite, as noble as^ 
Chantrey'sj has since been raised to the mestcny 
of the great engineer, in the town iB whoso 
history the story of Soho is one of the most J 
glorious episodes ; but of this we shall liave tol 
speak further at the date of its erection. We may j 
here add, however, that in thus honouring 
memory of James Watt, we do ill to foi^ 
altogether tlie brave, fearless, and enterprisi] 
Captain of Industry, without whose aid, in all 
probability, the work of the nervous, modest 
inventor might never have been accomplished: 
we do only partial honour to the genius of Soho 
in perpetuating in enduring marble the 
of one of the partners in that great enterprise,- 
a partiality which would have grieved none ] 
deeply than James Watt himself. 

The story of the Soho manufactory, after ' 
death of its illustrious founders, may best be ■ 
in connection with the history of Birmingham 
manufactures of the nineteenth century in general 
Of Gregory Watt and Francis Eginton, and of tlie 
famous Lunar Society, we shall have to speak in 
our next chapter. 



John CoHliu— Hla Saripterx^nkiffia—MiE llfa in Irftluid-'Poemji antl Bahgs— Cluulos Uoyd— Ibe LlwAr Sooitit9>— Omgoir Wfttt— ftaiMlt 
i;gintoii--Jtm«iB Blstet and hk ** Mjigiii(icent Dli%ctoT7 "--Allfta's Mtuoum, etc. 

Okcb more we pause in the Instory of the town, 
to continue our catalogue of local worthies. 

Fir^t among these comes our old friend of 
** r/w? Brush" John Collins, who, by his exquisite 
poem, ** To-morrow " stands at the head of all 
local poets. 

In one of the best popular colleetions of songs 
and lyrics with which we are acquainted, — the 
Golden 'Treasury, edited by Mr, Francis Turner 
Palgrave, — the editor re-introduced to modern 
readers of poetry that delightful poem, as "by 

-Collins." In a note at the end of 

volume >Ir. Palgrave says of its author ; ** Nothing^ 
except liis enmame appears recoverable with 
gard to the author of this truly noble poem, 
shotdd be noted as exhibiting a rare excellenoi^-'^ 
the climax of simple sublimity.'* 

The statement that " notliing except the 8n^ 
name appears recoverable" respecting 
caDod forth several interesting notes from well 
known contribntoi-a to Notes and Qaeri^ii, and ilj 
is to these that we are chie% indebted for tfai 

Jdhn CoUSju.] 



present notice. The song by which he is best 
remembenid appeared id a rare little volume of 
songs, publishod iii 1804, with the following 
quaint title, which we copy entire : — 





DibH OF ALL Sorts. 



Adapted to familmr Tunes, 

And which may bt tang Tsithout the Caunterpipe of an 

Italian Warhlor, or the raWshing Accompftnimenta of 

Tweedle-diim or Tvvcfdle*dcf?. 
rarticuki'ly tlioso which have been most applauded 
In the Author*s ouce popular Ptrformauce, 
~ raird 


The Gallimaufry garnished with a variety of 
Comic Talbs» 
Quaint Epigrams, 
Whimsical Epitaph*!, 
&c., kc, 
A Kickshaw Treat, which compreheudu 
Odd Bits and Scraps, and Orta and Ends,— 
Men> nickcack namby-pamby Pickings, 
Like Fricaaeea of Froga or Chickens i 
A Mess with Grub-street Giblets fniaghr., 
And here and there a Merry Thouoht ; 
In frothy Bra if Sauce trimly drest, 
But wanting Saoe for perfect zest. 
Yet if we countervail that Fault, 
With some few Grains of Attic Salt, 
Sag« Critics may withhold their Frown, 
And kindly let the Traeb go tiown. 


Thk Author Himself, 


Prixtxd bt M. Swiknbt, Birmingham. 


Facing the title-page, is a portrait of the author ; 
but few copies of this rare little book still cOntaiQ 
Uiai embellishment. As on the title-page, so at 
the foot of the portrait, the author rigidly sup- 
pressed his christian name ; the pkte being simply 
iuBClibed, "Collins. Scrijiacrapologiaj Scriptor." 
It is from this engmviiig that the portrait on page 
259 of this work ia copied. 

Wc lukve already given some account of The 
Brushy which although popular in the last decade 
of the eighteenth century, would seem, according 
to the phroae ^^m^4j popidar" on the title-page 

of Scripscmpdogta to have declined in favour at 
the beginning of the nineteenth century. TJie 
Brush itself was prubably never published ; the 
original MS, from its appearance — ^ scored here and 
there with corrections and alterations, directions, 
(such Qs^^^ imitatintj Smith's tone and monotony 
in the above lines/*) bohlly written side-headings 
to each anecdote or incident, for the direction of 
the reader, and other marks indicating that it was 
for personal penisal only — seems to have been the 
identical copy used by the lecturer in his enter- 
tainment j it is exceedingly dirty in appearaiicoj 
thumbed, and freely besprinkled with lamp-oil, 
and would be takcn» at first sight, for the prompts 
copy of a play. It is now in the possession of 
Mr, Sam : Timmins, and has hook-plates in it 
indicating that among its former €»wner8 have 
been two well-known antiquaries, Tlmmas liell 
and William Pinkerton. 

Of the life of the author very little hideed 
ia known. He was bom at Bath, {vute *• Scrip- 
scrapologia," p* 168,) and was the son of a 
tailor, as the verses entitled *' A Frank Con- 
fession" indicate. A report, it seems, had hwn 
circulated in that city with a view to injure 
him in the fashionable world, '* which report was 
nothing more nor less than his being the son of a 
man who supplied bis employers with raiment for 
the body while he [t.e.^ the author of The Ilntsh] 
was furnishing the puhlie with amusement for 
the mind.*' In the verses mentioned, which were 
inserted in answer to this report in the Bafh 
Chronicle^ he says : 

"This blot on my 'ncutcheon, I never yot tried 
To conceal, to erase, or to alter ; 
But suppose mo, by birth, to a hangman alHod, 
Must / wear the pritit of the haltor ? 

• • • • 

And since *tis a truth Pvo acknowledged throngli lift», 

And never yet laboor'd to smother, 
That * a taylor before I was bom took a wife, 

And that taylor's wife was my mother.' 

• • • • 

YeU while IVe a heart which not envy nor pride, 
With their venom-tipp'd arrows can sting, 

Not a drty of my life could more glad*oracly glide. 
Were it pror'd— Fm the son of a King ! " 



According to Paa<iiiiu*6 Authentic Hutorij of the 
Pro/edsars of Fainiiwjt Sadptnve and Architectui'e^ 
Collins was a ** miniatiiro painter in profile," and 
"pursued this diraii^utivo branch of the arts" in 
Ireland, entertaininjy: the public in tho evening 
with " the ain using Iticture ciiUod Collinses 
Brush** It would not appear, however, that the 

The Et^neiitif of Mudetm Oratort/, was ev 
the same, gubstantially, as Thf Brujih^ as mtj bft^ 
gathered from tho following thoroughly Coltinsioa 
aclvertisoment, which appeared in the BdffJi 
Newsletter of January 19, 177G ; 

**An Attic £vtruing*B EntertainineoU 
At Mr M'KiiTie's As^mbly Koom*" in Ballast, 

.^^M^r^rj:^*^ ^*^^j^j^i&^^ 

Tht tittUlefitt of 

lecture was known in Irisland by the name of 
Th' Bniish^ hut rather as Ths Elements of Modem 
Oratory: find its author was known also as an 
actor as well as a pnblir f?ntertainer. He went to 
Ireland in 1764, and " proved a very respectable 
addition to the Iinsh stage* ^' — appearing as Ymmg 
Mif'tdipJ in *' The Inanijdtfnt" Jajtitftr Woiidcock, 
Dkk in '* The Cinffederaci/" Ptachum^ Sir 
Frfittri» Wrowjheml^ BtUftard in ^^ Kmci Lmr^* 
Major O'Flnhettfj in *' The West Indian^' &c., &c. 
The entertainment which he at that time called 

' Uitchcodi : HUiorlatU Viem qf tk* Stag*, 

On Saturday Ev^^ning, Jan. 20tli, 1776, will be prescuta 
for the iirst Time 

A llumoaroas, 8atyrical, Critical, k Mimi«*3il 
KxiuBiTEON, call'il Tlie Elements ot 
Modern Ohatuuv, 
In whieh will be lii^pla^'ed, 
The most forcible k striking Etaraplra whtcli tbii 
pi^UAc age affords of Ibt* 
Gnat U«F. At Alius E of Sj'KR*^llt 
PivnicuUrly in the following Cbnratiter^ tlw 
St'liooliunsttTj Bcllower^ Moutbtir, 
SL-liooltioy, Growler, Stammerer, 

Public Header, RauttT, Liitpor, 

rnblic Speaker, >\1uui'r, Snurtkr, 

Monotoniat, Dronf»r, Pendant, 

Jingler, S«juoakef, Scotch Omtor^ 

Jobn Collliu.1 



Welch Orator, And And Southern 

Iriali Orator, The Northern English Provincials, 
The whole interspersed with original strictures on 
the Modulation, YfLrifltion k InfWtion of 
The Voice in Reading and in Speaking ! 
The ludicrous and risible Effects of false Accent, 
Emphasis, and Pronunciation ! 
The IMstortion, Reverston, Maiming, ilnngling, and 
Misapplyinjk? of WouDs ! 
The gent^ral Abuise of the English Language ! 
And the preseDt state of Oratory- contnisted in the three 
Departments of the Pulpit, the Bar, and the Stage. 
By the Author, J. Collins. 
, ** Whose Stay cannot possibly exceed a Night or two, 
as he is on his Journey from London to Dublin, where he 
is under Engagements to open by the first of February. 

**To begin exactly at seven, and the Doors to be opened 
at lax o'clock. ^Admittance two Shillings, English. 

" Tickets to be hod at the Donegall Anus, and at the 
Printer » ht?reof. 

'**^ As this Exhibition was repeated forty'two suc- 
tessive niglit% in London, and also seFeral Times with 
ef|ual success at the Uuivcrsitit'S of Oxford anil Cutn- 
bridgt*, Uie Author declines the falaomu (tho*tot> commoTi) 
Practice of 9«lf Encomium ; chasing much rather to sub- 
mil the Decision of its Merita to the well-known Cniidour 
and Judgment of an Irish Audience." 

pdlius probably came to Birmingham as early 
as 1793; we have already quoted, iri our chapter 
on the Musical Festival-*, his improiiiptii on hear- 
ing Mjs. Second sing at the Festival in that year, 
III tho liirnungham iJircctory for 1797 the name 
of *'Joliii Collins, Grtat Brook Street," appears; 
and it was in that street, nearly opposite St, 
JameB'B Church, that our author is known to have 
livt5d. At that time he was editor and part pro- 
piietor of the Binaingham Chronide^ whieb was 
published by the firm of **Swinney and Colluia," 

And now we return to his poetry, as contained 
in his only published volume, the Scrijafcrajwhrfia. 
Fiad among these comes the famous song — 


In the downhill of life, when 1 find Tm deelimng, 

May my fate no less fortunate be 
Ulan a snug elbow-chaii* am all'ord tor reclining, 
1 a cot tliat o'erlooka the wide sea ; 

1th an amhling pad-pony to pace o^r the lawn, 

Vrliile I carol away idle sorrow, 
And hiithe as the lark that each day hails the dawn^ 

Look forward with hope for to-morrow. 

With a {torch at my door, both for shelter and shade too, 

As the sauahlne or rain may prevail ; 
And a small spot of ground for the uae of the spade too, 

With a bam for the use of the flail i 

A oow for my dairy, a dog for my game, 
And a purse when a friend wants to borrow ; 

m envy no nabob his riches or fame, 
Nor what honours may wait him to-morrow. 

From the bleak northern blast may my cot be completely 

Secured by a neighbouring hill - 
And at night may reposL^ steal upon me more sweetly, 

By the sound of a murmuring rill ; 
Autl while peace aud plenty 1 find at my board, 

With a heart free from sickness and sorrow, 
With luy frieutls let mc share what tonlay may aflbttl, 

And lot them spread the table to-morrow, 

Aud when I at last must throw off this frail covering,